Paris’s La Samaritaine department store

Update on April 8: my internet is not cooperating and this post is merely a place holder until I can upload all the images I have. Please come back next month for a fuller, richer post. Merci beaucoup!

This great department store reopened in 2021, after a huge renovation of the building in which it is housed.

La Samaritaine is a large department store in Paris, in the first arrondissement. The company was owned by Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jaÿ who hired architect Frantz Jourdain to expand their original store. It started as a small apparel shop and expanded to what became a series of department store buildings with a total of 90 different departments.

It is currently owned by LVMH, a luxury-goods maker. The store, which had been operating at a loss since the 1970s, was closed in 2005 purportedly because the building did not meet safety codes. Plans for redeveloping the building involved lengthy complications, as the representatives of the store’s founders argued with new owners LVMH over the building’s future as a department store or a mixed-use development. After seven years of renovation, it has reopened to public on 23 June 2021, having been previewed by the French President Emmanuel Macron journalists the days before.

Below: some details of the old and wonderful exterior:

Its retail offerings targeted at affluent consumers, restaurants, and a boutique hotel that includes a penthouse suite with its own private swimming pool. The building has been listed since 1990 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

At the street level, there are wonderful vintage details that have been lovingly preserved, and great window displays:

Below, some shots of the windows at street level:

Now that’s what I call a hat!

And then, there is the restaurant on the top floor, under the glass ceiling. It has a full sized screen with repeating scenes of water and rocks, pretty cool.

2 thoughts on “Paris’s La Samaritaine department store

    • They did an incredible job maintaining the original structure and updating its functionality. I’m having a lot of trouble uploading my videos and photos, or my posts would be much richer. Eventually I’ll get them all uploaded. Thanks Michael!

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