France Today Magazine writes about Paris large department stores

Paris: Les Grands Magasins

by Julie Street

April 22, 2010


The model for the fictional shopping emporium that gave its name to Emile Zola’s 19th-century classic Au Bonheur des Dames was Le Bon Marché, the oldest of the major department stores in Paris. Le Bon Marché was created in 1852 by Aristide Boucicaut, a visionary sales clerk who took over a small Left Bank business and transformed it into Paris’s first official department store. It was a revolutionary retail Mecca for its time, offering the latest products from around the world and catering to a vast clientele that ranged from the wives of rich industrialists to the girls who worked in their factories. Today there is little sign of the latter—Le Bon Marché is the smallest of the grands magasins, but now owned by luxury goods group LVMH and catering to an upmarket crowd. Its happening fashion department is stocked with cutting-edge designer labels—think Chloé, Lanvin, Balenciaga and Miu Miu, among others, and it’s a well known resource for great hats. The men’s department includes a custom-made suit service.

The store’s original glass and steel structure, masterminded by engineer Gustave Eiffel and architect Louis-Charles Boileau… to read the full article see France Today online @

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