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Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées A new temple of shopping in Paris

On March 28, the Galeries Lafayette opened a four-floor 6,500 sq.m. lifestyle concept store on the Champs-Élysées – the largest commercial space on the most beautiful avenue in the world.

The Galeries Lafayette and the Champs-Élysées go back a long way – almost a century, in fact. In 1927, Théophile Bader, the department store’s founder, bought the Massa mansion on the corner of avenue des Champs-Élysées and rue La Boétie. Dating from 1779, he had it dismantled and rebuilt in the Observatoire gardens. On the vacated site, he planned to build an extension to the Galeries Lafayette, but the 1929 crash forced him to sell it to First National City Bank. The bank then constructed a spectacular Arts Deco building for its French headquarters on the site, later home to a Virgin Megastore. Following the closure of this store, the building has now been revived by the Houzé family, owners of the Galeries Lafayette, who have made the founder’s dream come true and brought the past neatly into the present. Without altering the building’s sculptural design, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (BIG) has created a unique style that shows off the existing one to best effect.

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Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées

60, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008, Paris Phone : +33 (0)1 83 65 61 00 www.galerieslafayettechampselysees.com
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Combining glass and gilded metal, the architect has created elements as surprising as they are beautiful, including six display windows suspended under the dome, a golden ring circling the atrium and the translucent Podium staircase. On entering the building, an immersive tunnel with a projected kinetic work sets the tone and promises visitors the ultimate multi-sensory shopping experience. The Galeries Lafayette’s new, visually startling geometric graphic identity recalls its Art Deco surroundings; on the art side, Après vous, le déluge by Danish collective Superflex presents us with an ecological challenge by picking out the level of the ocean in a century’s time – 4.75m above ground – in dots of light. Our sense of smell is also brought into play on each floor with the store’s own fragrance created by young nose Fanny Bal. Everything here is designed to make you feel like an intrepid trend explorer. Clara Cornet, Director of Creation and Purchasing, has picked a selection of cutting-edge brands for you to discover, starting with beauty products on the first floor. When it comes to fashion, the second and third floors switch effortless from special collections to timeless labels, and little-known brands to outstanding pieces by luxury fashion houses. Hundreds of personal stylists are on stand-by to provide a tailormade shopping service that’s also available before and after your purchase thanks to the Personal Stylist 2.0 app. And if you’re a VIP, you get your own private zone with haute couture services.

And, of course, books, music and fine food are also available – there really is something for everyone! Like to mix shopping and dining? You never have to look far: try the Café Citron on the second floor, the Oursin restaurant on the third floor (opening in July), and a delicatessen on the lower-ground floor. A tempting proposition for the 300,000 visitors who walk down the avenue every day!

By Florence HALIMI. Photos : Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti - Published the

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