Situated in Paris' swanky ninth arrondissement, the Galeries Lafayette department store has established itself as a cultural landmark. The shop has come a long way since its 1894 inception within a small haberdashery, and is now considered one of the city's fashion icons.
Strolling along the tree-lined Boulevard Haussmann, you'll be struck by its abundance of typically Parisian architecture – but the Belle Époque building that's been home to the Galeries Lafayette flagship since 1912 still stands out. Whether you have an afternoon or an entire day to spare, it's worth discovering the crème de la crème of this beloved Parisian institution.
Make an impression
As you enter the main Galeries building - the Lafayette Coupole - you might just do a double take at the intricate glass domed ceiling. Soaring above a theatrically designed atrium, this stained glass feature is the store's crowning glory. If you're lucky enough to find the Galeries bathed in sunlight, it might be a good day to visit to the rooftop terrace. Taking in the unforgettable views over the heart of Paris, keep an eye out for the Eiffel Tower, the Opera House, and our Radisson Blu Champs-Élysées Paris.
Home to over 150 footwear brands, the lower ground floor of the Lafayette Coupole is a shoe maven's paradise. Half are exclusive to the Galeries Lafayette, so there's a good chance you'll discover a pair that couldn't be found at home. Personal fitters are on hand to help with the perfect match for your size and style – and even if you don't find the shoes of your dreams, you can always take solace in the department's excellent Pierre Hermé chocolate shop.
Away from the designer fragrances and couture concept boutiques of the Coupole, Lafayette Homme links to the main building through a covered passage. Three storeys of fashion and footwear labels are exhibited throughout this vast men's department. In addition to collections by Lacoste, Armani and Burberry Prorsum, you'll find some uniquely Parisian items, like Galeries Lafayette-exclusive Paris Saint-Germain designs by Nike.
True gourmands won't be able to keep from grinning at the mouthwatering French delicacies of Lafayette Gourmet. It's one of the preferred grocery shops of Parisian food lovers, stocking fresh seasonal produce alongside high-end goodies like Fauchon salted caramels. If you're feeling peckish, there's plenty to sample in store - tip back some freshly shucked oysters on the spot, or pick out a few French cheeses and a pot of foie gras for a decadent picnic. The shop's extensive cellar offers superb vintages representing the country's diverse wine-making regions - the perfect gift to bring home.
Head across the road from the Coupole and you'll find Lafayette Maison, a characterful housewares store designed like an expansive - and exceptionally well-stocked - home. Stop by the 'kitchen' first – a chef's paradise with its selection of Joseph Joseph gadgets and Le Creuset cookware –then make your way to the 'bedroom', where you'll find luxurious linens by designers like Sonia Rykiel.