Landmark Paris department store reopens

After a 16-year closure and following an extraordinary renovation project, Samaritaine is finally open again, waiting for tourists to come back.

Samaritaine, a famous Parisian department store that dates back to 1870, has reopened this week after 16 years. The owners, luxury group LVMH, carried out a 750-million-euro renovation project and scheduled the reopening last April, but the pandemic derailed their plans. President Emmanuel Macron officially inaugurated the department store on Monday, and it opened to the public on Wednesday.

Nestled in the heart of Paris and spread over 70,000 square meters, the beautifully renovated Art Nouveau and Art Deco building has regained its stunning glass roof with an Eiffel-style iron frame. It is surrounded by a wavy contemporary facade designed by the renowned Japanese architectural firm SANAA. At its peak, 800 painters, sculptors, gilders, ironworkers, and more were working together at the worksite, and now this mythic department store promises to be once more a symbol of Parisian elegance.

On September 7, a new Cheval Blanc hotel is scheduled to open on the premises with 72 rooms and suites designed by renowned American architect Peter Marino. The store itself will showcase established luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and emerging designers, and the cosmetics department will also offer spa services. After all the shopping, visitors can rest their weary legs and dine at Voyage, a bar and restaurant on the top floor.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim
Photo: Adi Ben Arosh

Located between the Louvre and Les Halles, the whole renovated complex promises to play a pivotal role in the neighborhood’s renaissance, with a pedestrian square and direct access to the famous Pont Neuf.

According to Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, “No other department store has such compelling links to the two faces of Paris, one engaged with the historic economic vitality of the recently renovated Les Halles and the other overlooking the Seine, offering the most beautiful view of the world’s most beautiful city.

“The completion of this project, which both creates jobs and promotes a unique Parisian art de Vivre around the world, is also a great source of pride for our Group in France and Paris. Many of our Maisons were founded in Paris, where we intend to make an active contribution to economic recovery, as well as the worldwide appeal of France.”


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