All fancy department stores come with a shopping signature. You go there for a service, a precious moment and a vision that represents you. The legendary slogan use to be “It can all be found at La Samaritaine”. Under the LVMH ownership this identitarian imprint is still valid 151 years later, today with an absolute contemporary choice. We waited more than 15 years to finally see it done. A difficult and meticulous renovation for the 20 000 m2 for non less than 750 million euros that brings to a beautiful conclusion security and historic monuments respect under the Sanaa agency signature – Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryūe Nishizawa and Jean-François Lagneau, chief architect of historical monuments.
Parisian for a lifetime or passing by, glamorous shopper or street art addict, you have a swell of a chance to find something to your liking under the gigantic glass dome. As you walk through the perfectly renovated spaces, along with the buildings styles, the brands represented change as well. From the facade, with its 675 m of enamelled Volvic lava – from which about 40square meters have been completely remade after archive illustrations – to the central grand staircase under the metal structure coupole of the 1910 Jugendstil building signed by Frantz Jourdain, to the Art Déco side by Henri Sauvage added in 1928, and the contemporary parts, you pass from one universe to another as you go from a high jewellery BULGARI corner to recycled running shoes and all you can imagine in between.
Enter maybe a bubble, may it be skin care and detox, in the CINQ MONDES Spa, or a glamorous holistic beauty studio with leading eco-friendly brands like KURE BAZAAR, ILES FORMULA and PHILIP MARTIN’S. You can find a concierge service and a craft atelier to ad your spice and imagination on your selected products. Or even better, a private shopping session in the exclusive space imagined by ATELIERAMO agency. A secret and cosy setting ready to welcome you or your brand for prestigious private events.
Unlike other stores, the facade itself is already a brand in its own right
600 brands placing together renown names and discoveries. An exceptional choice based on quality, innovation and youth. Yes, new promising brands and Art. The FACTORY is highlighting exclusively Parisian artists, as the PR director was telling us with pride. Large walls and spaces to be taken in creative hands for in situ art works, and, at one of the undergrounds levels, the Perotin galley. Also, there are cultural guided tours. Because you see, it seems its primary goal is not over consumerism but a place to stroll and wonder. A place to dine or have luncheons in luxurious restaurants or popular concept bars.
Some notable facts, the mythical rail-guard of the central staircase was elevated to the new norms with non less than 16,000 golden leaves. The Peacocks fresco benefited of a 4 years restoration at the professional Bouvier Atelier. The unveil of the original 1910 shades of the paintings due to the successive layers stratigraphy process.
One element that disappeared , the famous glass brick floors, serving as a omnipresent sky-dome, bringing light down to the lowest levels. Be reassured, even with modern technics this type or construction could be too dangerous in case on fire. Beauty was sacrificed for security. But light grey for the metal structure and the gold foil renovation for the chestnut leaves of the ironwork contributes to the luminosity of the whole, a beautiful restoration.
To see the overwhelming view over the Seine that used to be part of the Samaritaine before, you should reserve a room in the Cheval Blanc hotel that took over the whole quai du Louvre side. A 72 rooms palace imagined by interior architect Peter Marino. For this luxurious heaven he coinvolved artists and artisans, Claude Lalanne made the leather and bronze banister, Philippe Anthonioz created the chandeliers and bedside lamps or the beautiful lobby painting signed by Georges Mathieu. In the underground level you will discover the Dior spa with 6 exclusive suites.The skin products are to be found in the rooms of course. And, there is the elegant swimming pool, as well as a fitness room. But the experience wont limit to this, the famous brasserie Le Tout-Paris reopened on the 7th floor and the Italian restaurant Langosteria took over the terrace. Plenitude by starred chef Arnaud Donckele, on the 1st floor and the perfect breakfast place on the ground floor with creations by the hotel’s pastry chef Maxime Frédéric.
Well today, considering this temple of consumerism and style, found in the heart of a renown Parisian neighbourhood, the City Hall imposed social housings to be created. 96 flats in the Art Deco building welcomed their tenants since October 2020, a nurse, a retired lady, a garbage man, a school teacher, Parisian workers that would of been fixed in suburbia for the rest of their lives.
It is an eminently symbolic opening. Housing here offers rents three four times inferiors to private sector