Galeries Lafayette, Paris of course!

Now, let me tell you about a store , a story , history and chic beauty of what France is all about. You have come here I am sure one time or another, we all have. I came here way back in my first encounter with Paris in 1972,and been back ever since, even a cardholder.

I like to tell a bit on the Galeries Lafayette, that beacon of French fashion and department store à la Française.

Galeries Lafayette is a brand of department stores belonging to the Galeries Lafayette Group. The flagship store is at Bd Haussmann in Paris.

The description and style is a must to visit and enjoy it. It was my first dept store visit in Paris even back in 1972 and has been our favorite, I am a card carrying member and do shop even online! Paris chic at its best ,even if some tells you tourists are many but that is because they go to the main store in bd Haussmann, and you go elsewhere you will tell the French do shop there too ::)

The ramp style of the main staircase is directly inspired by that of the Opéra de Paris. Overlooking the store at 43 meters in height, the huge dome built in 1912 of the main hall becomes the emblem of Galeries Lafayette. Its neo-Byzantine-style stained glass windows allow the rays of the sun to pass through the Great Hall in a warm light. The first vocation of Galeries Lafayette has always been the alliance of fashion and novelty. To do this, it acquires production units in order to create its own brand of clothing. It later made sewing pieces at the forefront of fashion in order to sell them at prices much more affordable than its chic competitors. It democratized the access to fashion and made its stores the indispensable address not only of the bourgeoises of Paris, but also of the sewing workers. The aisles such as “men’s clothing”, “interior decoration”, “Toys” and “Table art” are added to the classic aisles dedicated to women’s clothing. And for maximum loyalty, annual appointments are established with customers, such as the famous “3d”, created in 1958 and allowing to acquire current and good quality items at unusually low prices for three days. The department store subsequently hosts prestigious events by presenting creators or major artists of our time. In order to strengthen its link with fashion but also with the creation of all kinds, the store opens the gallery of galleries, a space located on the first floor and free of access to all that highlights the intrinsic links that exist between the fashion , art and design. In 1951, Edith Piaf gave a concert in front of the galleries of Boulevard Haussmann where is inaugurated the highest escalator in Europe!

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And the story I like is….

Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn joined in 1893 to take over a new store and open their first store in 1894 at 1, rue La Fayette in a room of 70 m2 which they call les Galeries. Both are Alsatian Jewish traders coming from the world of confection, while their competitors Boucicaut, creator of the Bon Marché, or Jaluzot, founder of Au Printemps, were previously sellers in stores. Their store (now the “Galeries Lafayette Haussmann”) initially 70 m² grew as it went along with the purchase of the entire building three years after its opening. The store is then renamed Galeries Lafayette. In 1905, the buildings of 38, 40 and 42 Boulevard Haussmann, as well as the 15 rue de la Chaussée D’Antin, are also acquired.

After the 1940 debacle, Galeries Lafayette underwent a “aryanisation” treatment: Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store’s administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families are dispossessed of their property. Protected by the Nazis, the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol led the whole group Les Galeries Lafayette. Heilbronn and Meyer then engage in the French resistance and they were arrested by the Gestapo, then deported to Buchenwald, Max Heilbronn returned to France in April 1945. After many clandestine activities, Raoul Meyer took an important part in the liberation of Paris in 1944. As a result, a special board of Directors of Galeries Lafayette meets on September 20, 1944, Aubert and Harlachol are returned and Galeries Lafayette handed over to Raoul Meyer, hoping for the return of Max Heilbronn. In the meantime, Théophile Bader had died in Paris in 1942, paralyzed and despoiled of his property. Today, the Galeries Lafayette are the last French department store led by the direct descendants of its founder!!!

A bit of the spread of the group: Since 2014, Galeries Lafayette have been developing an offer of destocking with Galeries Lafayette Outlet stores, which today number eight in France. There is a total of 54 stores in France. The next project is for the 52-60, avenue des Champs-Elysées, which houses a monoprix and until 2013 a Virgin Megastore, was bought in 2012 by Qatar and Groupama. It is renovated from 2016 in order to welcome in 2018 a store of Galeries Lafayette in place of the Virgin. Outside of France you have stores in Berlin, opened in 1996, the first abroad. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Open in 2009. Jakarta, Indonesia: Opened in June 2013. Beijing, People’s Republic of China: opened in 2013, Istanbul, Turkey and forthcoming openings in Doha, Qatar; Luxembourg, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China, Kuwait City, in Kuwait. and Milan, Italy.

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And the future is bright!

The Galeries Lafayette are preparing to hire. And not just a little. The group of department stores launches a large recruitment campaign in this month of September 2018 to hire 700 people in permanent jobs, reveals Le Parisien.newspaper. The group will indeed in the next few months open two department stores in Paris. First a point of sale of 6500 m² under the Galeries Lafayette on the Champs Elysées (see above) in lieu of the former Virgin Megastore for which she seeks 400 people. Then a large Italian specialty store called Eataly. Located in the Marais district, this store for which Galeries lafayette are looking for 300 people is the first of its kind in France. It is an Italian brand that the French group will exploit in France. Eataly will offer a large restoration area that should serve 2500 covered per day. Both stores are to be opened between the first and second quarter 2019.

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my boys on Virgin, the future Galeries Lafayette on C-E

Some webpages to help you visit and enjoy this icon of Paris are

Official Galeries Lafayette

Official Galeries Lafayette Group

Tourist office of Paris on Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

In all , a wonderful experience that I have not even gone into the top floor terrace and restaurant and the soon to come Christmas 2018 celebrations. Awesome a must to visit, Galeries Lafayette.

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And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

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