I took my very first trip to Paris with my mother when I was 14. The trip was especially sentimental for her as she lived in Paris for 3 magical years in her youth, studying fashion. Back then, online shopping wasn’t a thing. Neither were influencers. I had seen French clothing in fashion magazines but not in person.
On our trip my mother took me shopping at Galeries Lafayette during les soldes, showing me the fabrics and classic cuts her expert eyes thought would suit me. Chic styles that were very different from the sporty casual wear and fast fashion that was the norm in Texas where I grew up. The clothes brought sophistication to my young frame. My mother was in her happy place, immersed in the French culture and fashion she adored. I cherish the memories and the chance to see her in her element.
So it was especially meaningful to me to be invited to take part in a summer collaboration between HIP Paris and Galeries Lafayette. Not only because it is an icon of French culture and fashion, but it is also part of the landscape of my childhood memories.
To celebrate this partnership, we have a free in-store gift exclusively for HIP readers who visit between now and May 31, 2024. Make sure to bookmark this page for your next visit!
The Spirit of French Culture
The department store needs no introduction, as a shopping destination with thousands of luxury French and international brands under one roof. Galeries Lafayette stores are popular as a tourist destination. The tax refund for visitors makes it that much more appealing.
When the HIP team was invited for an in-store visit recently, we were encouraged to explore it not just as a shopping destination but as a place with activities of interest beyond that.
Artists and artisans are part of the fabric of French culture. They make the architecture, décor, clothing, food, and culture so alluring. Galeries Lafayette is an homage to French creation. So with that in mind, we thought we would share the highlights of what we discovered (and rediscovered) on our recent visit to Galeries Lafayette – fashion and beyond.
8 Discoveries and Rediscoveries at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
1. Art nouveau architecture
The main building of the flagship Galeries Lafayette Haussmann store is one of the most dramatic and splendid examples of art nouveau architecture in the City and perhaps the world. But we had not known that there are heritage tours in French and English every weekend outside of opening hours.
One of the drawbacks of the store’s popularity is it is crowded. This is especially true during the summer, holiday season and les soldes. You can still appreciate the stunning art nouveau architecture, including the dome’s breathtaking stained-glass windows on your shopping excursion.
But there is something meditative about viewing the stunning features of the building without the sonic noise of shoppers and having to push through crowds. Savor the quiet and absorb the grandeur of this architectural gem to its fullest.
2. Breathtaking views from the rooftop terrace
In our opinion the rooftop terrace might just be the best place in the store. It is worth a visit even if you’re not coming to shop. From the 8th floor of the flagship location, there are staggering panoramic views of the capital, including the Opéra Garnier, Eiffel Tower, Sacré Cœur, and Notre Dame. It’s free to access. The space and unobstructed views are rejuvenating, and amongst the finest vantage points from which to view the City.
3. Lafayette Gourmet
This was not exactly a new discovery but we could not leave it off. One of the highlights of any trip to the Haussmann store is visiting the impressive gourmet food hall. Artisan chocolatiers, bakers, butchers, traiteurs and cheese and vegetable mongers are all represented. There are also master craftsman making specialty pastries, desserts, international foods, and more, all artfully displayed throughout the building. It is a great place to sample a range of fine local and foreign foods, souvenir shop, or for mere browsing.
If you’re looking for a deeper immersion into French savoir-faire, workshops and activities at Galeries Lafayette are a great way to dive further into the culture, and can be a fun way to bond with family and escape the heat or the rain on your visit. In past years our team members have raved about the Ferrandi cooking courses on offer. There are family macaron baking classes to engage kids, the weekly fashion show and personal shopping experiences too.
5. The Wellness Galerie
Not so long ago, after attending hot yoga classes in Paris, I would cool down outside where I would frequently find fellow classmates gathered outside for a post practice cigarette! In a few short years, wellness has come a long way in Paris. So much so that the lower ground floor of the Coupole store is a 3000m2 stylish retreat.
This is wellness the French way, not austerity, pavement pounding and deprivation that can be found in places like the United States. In France, pleasure and beauty prevail.
The Wellness Galerie is designed with a stylish circular cocooning theme, inspired by the 70’s. Fitness, self-care and wellness are the focus. There are group and private classes, a gym, fitness wear, products, treatments and a restaurant. Whether you’re a Parisian adopting healthy habits, or a visitor looking to recover from your travels and rejuvenate after a long day of shopping, the Wellness Galerie caters to all.
6. Fashion at different price points
While the store is synonymous with luxury there are also young and emerging designers, along with the latest trends in women and men’s fashion, accessories, and beauty products at a range of price points. Expect to find diverse brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Louboutin, Isabel Marant, Jacquemus, Sandro, Rouje, APC, and more. Galeries Lafayette’s own line of clothing offers affordable, quality, classic pieces – making French style and quality accessible.
7. Vintage clothing at (Re) Store
Here too, you’ll find everything from affordable pieces to luxury goods; established brands to cutting edge ones. You can offer your pre-loved pieces for sale as well, find up-cycled collections of iconic pieces created exclusively from second-hand clothing, and more. Sustainable, affordable, responsible fashion reigns here at (Re)Store.
8. Art installations
Last season Studio GGSV was given carte blanche to create a dialogue between its own aesthetic and the art nouveau roots of the building. This season, between now and the end of October, the renowned artist Kimsooja was invited to design a luminous installation, To Breathe, in which film placed over the dome diffracts light into the colors of the rainbow.
The installation evolves with the sunlight and weather conditions, impacting both the interior and exterior. The installation includes opening the space between the two domes to the public for the first time.
40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
Nearest Metro Line:
Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette (lines 7 and 9)
Opéra (lines 3,7, and 8)
Havre – Caumartin (Line 3 and 9)
- To discover the more about contemporary art, pay a visit to Galeries Lafayette Anticipations.
- Discover art in the most unexpected places in Art Hiding in Paris.
- What is it about about French fashion that is so timeless, chic, and elegant?
Written by HiP Paris Editors in collaboration with Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.