My favorite department store in the world is the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. I first stepped inside the grand department store back in 1997, my first trip to Paris and I've been shopping there every since. In fact, many of the things I have bought at the store over the years are still in my wardrobe today. This August, I was lucky enough to have a private tour and given access to take photos inside. I was also lucky to be able to experience Galerie Lafayette's personal shopping service.
What I love the best about Galerie Lafayette is that there are so many different brands under one roof (a very big roof!). Not only can you shop expensive luxury goods from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, you can also shop for midrange to inexpensive brands such as Topshop. I love walking through the beauty department that sits oh so dazzlingly under the neo-byzantine dome built in 1912. All the lipsticks and perfumes, smell all the more sweeter here of course. And unlike most stores, shopping abroad is best because it's tax free and you can choose to get your tax refund (12%) via cash back or credit. Learn more about the tax free details.
My fantastic tour guide was Indré (pictured right) who gave me such an amazing detail about the history of Galeries Lafayette. While we were under the dome, Indré showed me the art installation by Phillippe Ramette that was up from July to the end of August, titled "Eloge de la contemplation (le temps suspendu)" which means place of contemplation (suspended time). Galeries Lafayette holds art dear to its heart so it's no surprise that they showcase different artists and exhibits throughout the year in the store.
Galeries Lafayette's art gallery is on the main floor and is called the Galiere des Galieres. This year the Galerie des Galeries invites the photographer Philippe Jarrigeon to exhibit his work. With "Grand Magasin" (means department store) he has created a series of images inspired by this place and people’s experiences of it. (From September 23 to November 14, 2014.)
Every August, there is some sort of installation exhibit on the 4th floor. This summer it was the L'Excellence a la Française which showcased all the famous French brands and what region of France they came from.
After all these years of going to Paris, I had no idea that there was a rooftop with the most amazing view of the city! You could turn around 365 degrees and see everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacré Cœur. You definitely won't want to miss this gorgeous view where you can also sit and take a break. I loved that it wasn't crowded up on the rooftop at all so you could really enjoy the breathtaking view.
Read more about my VIP shopping experience after the jump!