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Top Paris Department Stores

Visit the City's "Grands Magasins" in Style

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Paris boasts some of the world's most breathtaking department stores, where visitors can see the latest trends in designer fashion, enjoy a meal on dramatic terraces, browse gourmet food shops, or attend free fashion shows. The following Paris department stores are veritable institutions in the city of light, and should definitely be on your itinerary if shopping is on your radar.

1. Galeries Lafayette

©2009 Courtney Traub.

Even if you don't intend to shop here, visiting the much-revered Galeries Lafayette is worthwhile for the breathtaking setting alone. The store's unique Belle Epoque architecture, which features a dramatic colored glass dome and an ornate Art Nouveau staircase offering dizzying perspectives, contributed to the department store being named a Paris city heritage site.

During the winter months, Galeries Lafayette is dressed in elegant lights for the holiday season (pictured).

2. Le Bon Marché: The Original Left-Bank Paris Department Store

©2008 Paul Trafford. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
The destination for chic on the posh left bank, Le Bon Marche is another classic Parisian department store that merits a detour. The store, which features regularly renewed collections from over 40 top fashion designers, is housed in a building that was designed by Gustave Eiffel (think eponymous tower) in 1852. And foodies, take note: the gourmet market at Le Bon Marche, called La Grande Epicerie, stocks thousands of delicacies from around the globe.

3. Au Printemps

©2009 Courtney Traub.

With the Paris flagship on the same block as Galeries Lafayette in the 9th arrondissement's Haussmann/Grands Magasins district, Au Printemps is yet another sumptuously designed store that hails from the mid-19th century.

4. Bazaar de L'Hotel de Ville (BHV)

©2008 Courtney Traub.

Situated in the bustling heart of Paris and right across the street from Paris City Hall or "Hotel de Ville" looms BHV, perhaps the modest cousin of the classic Paris department stores. It's slightly more accessible than the high-fashion oriented Galeries Lafayette or Bon Marche, and shades less touristy, too. "Real" Parisians head here when they're missing a part to fix a shower head, want to browse the very-kitsch pet accessories shop, or find deals on edgy urbanwear during the "soldes" or annual sales in Paris.

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