Le Printemps Paris Haussmann
Since the end of the 19th Century, renovations and revolutionary policies have given Le Printemps always evolving features, including its colorful glass dome and the distinction of being the first store to devote such ample space and airy square-footage to luxury goods.
It was set up as a one-stop designer floor with hundreds of the world's top brand names in jewelry, beauty, fashion and accessories. Virtually side by side with its illustruous rival Les Galeries Lafayette, the three structures of Le Printemps Paris shopping hotspot are the other Boulevard Haussmann magnet where cash-flush tourists with little time to stroll go.
The cupola over the tea salon and façade of the Art Nouveau main building have made the official historic monuments list. What is less visible is all the historical features that Le Printemps pioneered, such as being first to use electric lighting, being a precursor to direct metro station access, as well as adding elevators to a shopping structure, as soon as they were invented.
It also pioneered doing away with haggling and instituted set prices with high volume merchandise at levels people other than the rich could afford. Other notable firsts were the popular end of stock sales and the now ubiquitous fashion windows display.
Quite an influential store indeed, and even though the brand has now spread to other locations, "Le Printemps-Haussmann" remains one of a kind.
Even if you don't shop, you might want to check out the panoramic terrace on the top floor for splendid views of Paris. At Christmas time, the spectacular holiday decorations and lights are something of a Paris tradition.
64, boulevard Haussmann (9th arrondissement)
Metro: Havre Caumartin
RER: Auber (Line A), Haussmann St-Lazare (Line E)
Hours: 9:35 - 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday (Thursdays till 10:00 pm)
Go to Paris Department Stores