The Evolution of Retail in Paris

Retail has always played a big role in Parisian life and culture. Over the centuries, many changes surrounding the way retail functions in Paris have occurred. Parisians used to wander up and down passages, observing everything around them. Entering a store meant that the consumer was definitely going to buy something. This all began to change as department stores emerged. Now consumers could find everything they needed in department stores. Furthermore, the concept of shopping became very important. Consumers were allowed to look around stores without having to buy something. Most recently, Paris has seen the emergence of concept stores which are essentially smaller, curated department stores that promote a certain lifestyle.

Le Bon Marché

The Bon Marché is considered to be one of the first department stores in the world, revolutionizing the way Parisians shopped and helping to create a new consumer culture. The Bon Marché began as a dry goods firm, or magasin de nouveautés, and…

Galerie Vivienne

The first covered shopping passages appeared in Paris near the end of the eighteenth century. At their peak, there was a network of more than 200 passages, many interconnected and ornately decorated (Muschamp, 2000). Parisian passages flourished…

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Haussmannization greatly influenced the Parisian lifestyle of the 19th and 20th centuries, changing the appearance of Paris forever. As the undertaking of Haussmannization increased within the city, the people of Paris looked for places to…

Avenue des Gobelins

Eugène Atget’s storefront photography is an essential element to the investigation of the evolution of culture in Paris, specifically regarding retail, after Haussmannization, throughout the Belle Époque period, and onwards. Atget’s photographs of…

Merci

Merci is a concept store located in the historic district of Haut-Marais. According to the Merci website, the store was created in March 2009 by Bernard and Marie-France Cohen when they realized that Paris “lacked a place which would bring together…

Passage Choiseul

Located in the Opéra District on Rue des Petits Champs, Le Passage Choiseul varies from several of the other passages we have explored within the realm of Paris. Upon first glance, one can tell that the grandeur of this passage is not comparable…

Le Printemps

Printemps is one of the main department stores found in Paris. It was founded in 1865 by Jules Jaluzot with the help of Jean-Alfred Duclos. According to the Printemps website, Jaluzot was a visionary entrepreneur that was struck with a genius idea to…

Galerie Colbert

When I walked into Galerie Colbert after walking into both Galerie Vivienne and Passage Choiseul, I was extremely surprised with what I found. After observing the other two passages, full of shops, restaurants, and cafés, I found a long hallway that…

Galeries Lafayette: Montparnasse

When our class took a group tour to Montparnasse, we went to see the view from the top of the highest building in the area, the Montparnasse Tower. As we came back down and were waiting for the rest of the class outside, I looked around and was…

The Bon Marché Food Hall vs. Galeries Lafayette Food Hall

The Bon Marché By: Maggie Barker The food court at the Bon Marché is truly a spectacle. There is a whole separate, multi floor building right across the street from the main building dedicated to food. The separate building, called La Grande…

Galeries Lafayette vs. The Bon Marché

When we first visited both the Bon Marché and the Galeries Lafayette, we were struck by how different they felt. Considering they are both large department stores that carry high end brands, we expected them to have similar vibes as well as…