Opened in 1896, with a lobby capped by an early 1900s stained-glass cupola classified as a historic monument, Galeries Lafayette is Europe's largest department store. If you have time for only one department store, make it this one. This store could provision a small city with everything from perfume to fashion. It is even more user-friendly than Au Printemps, and in fashion it places more emphasis on upcoming designers. It also concentrates on an upscale roster of everything you need to furnish and maintain a home; thousands of racks of clothing for men, women, and children; and a staggering array of cosmetics, makeup products, and perfumes. Menswear is concentrated in a section called Galfa; also in the complex is Lafayette Gourmet, one of the fanciest grocery stores in Paris, selling culinary exotica at prices usually lower than those at Fauchon; Lafayette Sports; Galeries Lafayette Mariage (for wedding accessories); and two other general-merchandise stores, both known simply as "GL." The floor above street level has a concentration of high-end, semi-independent boutiques, including Cartier, Vuitton, and Prada Sport. A fashion show is held at least once daily, usually in the Salon Opéra. At the street-level Welcome Desk, a multilingual staff will tell you where to find various items in the store, where to get a taxi back to your hotel, and so on. Open Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday 9:30am to 6:45pm; Thursday 9:30am to 9pm.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010