Galeries Lafayette: A History


Galeries Lafayette: Give Me That Gold, Glitz, and Shopping

The sales have ended in Paris and it seems that the craziest area to be in was in Galeries Lafayette. Tourists and Parisians were always packing this huge department store in hopes of getting a good deal of something very expensive. I chose to go to the gallery for a different reason, so see its beautiful architecture. But this department store has been in Paris for a very long time. It is so well known that everyone in Paris knows what you're talking about when you mention Galeries Lafayette and most French people outside of Paris know too. So what made a department store so popular?

Small Beginnings

The Galeries Lafayette started off in the late 1800s as a shop owned by two cousins. They sold novelty items and the store was referred to as Lafayette because of its location on rue Lafayette. But the location of the store is what made it successful. Just next to the glitz of the Opera and within walking distance of Gare Saint Lazare, customers were easily able to see the small shop.

Balcony of Galeries Lafayette

A Change of Style

As the store expanded, so did its style. It followed Haussman's plan for Paris. By 1912, the store took on a new style, making it a focal point for consumer culture in Paris. Just like Macy's in New York, Galeries Lafayette changed the way French people shopped. All the major brands were in one store.

The Glass Dome of Galeries Lafayette

A Luxury Bazaar

By 1912, the original owners of the store had envisioned a store full of luxury and over the top decadence. So architects were hired to make it as grand as possible. Today everything is gold. The walls are golden, the mirrors are golden, and the dome is golden. And since then the store has expanded in size. Inside are high end brands like Chanel, all believed to be the best merchandise of Paris.

The Outside of Galeries Lafayette

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