The Super Rich Have a New Must-Visit Shopping Destination in Paris
La Samaritaine closed its doors in 2005 following fire safety concerns, but after undergoing a bold and innovative renovation project, the iconic LVMH-owned department store is finally reopening this June 19, 2021.
The transformation of the mythic department store was spearheaded by a dream team consisting of Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese firm Sanaa, French architect Édouard François, American designer Peter Marino and heritage specialist Jean-François Lagneau.
Originally founded in 1870 by Ernest Coagnacq and Louise Jaÿ as a small family boutique, it then transformed into a shopping destination that revolutionised traditional distribution. Thanks to its ideal location, situated between the Louvre and Notre Dame, it became an architectural masterpiece with its blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
Now, following an LVMH-backed almost US$1 billion renovation project, La Samaritaine is set to become one of the most expensive department stores in the world, catering to the crazy rich.
La Samaritaine will include over 600 brands including 40 exclusives, 96 social housing units, five-star restaurants and a five-star Cheval Blanc hotel with 72 rooms that cost US$1,270 per night. It boasts over 215,000 square feet of retail space, more than 161,000 square feet of offices and even a kindergarten. Other new features include a Christian Dior space and the duty-free retailer DFS.
Besides being a luxury shopping destination, the iconic structure gets to keep its historic facade after the restoration. Original architect, Frantz Jourdain and his iconic multi-coloured enamel tiles which are currently hidden beneath a stone-coloured wash has been renovated. The glass roof which was rebuilt following the original 1905 structure, the monumental staircase, the renovated Art Nouveau decor and Jourdan Hall are restored to their former glory.
After a 16-year closure, a 30-month-long large-scale renovation schedule and multiple scheduling delays, La Samaritaine is finally opening its doors this June 22 or 23, coinciding with Paris Fashion Week for men's wear. The adjoining Cheval Blanc hotel, the first outpost of the exclusive chain has yet to have an opening date. La Samaritaine is just one of the latest renewal projects in Paris following the Champs-Élysées, Centre Pompidou and even the Louvre.