After a wasted morning in Paris thanks to putting my back out, I had to go out and try to experience some of Paris. Complete with back brace and ongoing pain, we headed off to les grands magasins of Paris. Namely, we were going to hit up the two most famous department stores in Paris – Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
I gingerly made my way down from the apartment to the nearby Metro station of Marcadet-Poissoniers. Then we rode the Metro to Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette. This was the station closest to the department stores. In fact, this Metro station has a direct exit into the Galeries Lafayette itself.
We entered into the basement floor of the Galeries Lafayette. It looked like a down right busy shoe sale was going on. Shoppers – local and foreign – were all over the place trying on shoes. I wasn’t in the market for any shoes and the brands looked highly on the expensive side. So we left and went up to the main ground level.
On the ground level is the cosmetics department (just like most department stores). The cosmetics area sat right in the atrium area underneath the beautiful and expansive stained glass dome above. The 8-storey high dome looming above is definitely the masterpiece of this grand old store.
We explored the different floors of the Galeries Lafayette. Around the edge of the atrium were several little specialty shops such an Apple Store area, a Starbucks Coffee, and a restaurant. Off to the sides were different clothing brands and clothing sections.
There was also a little kiosk for Pierre Hermé Paris. That meant macarons. Yum yum. We couldn’t help, but grab a couple of macarons to try out.
Apart from the giant stained glass dome, the other must-see/must-do at the Galeries Lafayette is to go to the rooftop, or terrasse. I think it’s worthwhile to go up on the rooftop to get a view of Boulevard Haussmann below and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Directly across from the Galeries Lafayette is the Palais Garnier, or the old Opera House. I wanted to go in and scope out the Opera house. However, the Palais Garnier closes to the public early at 4:30pm. I never did make it inside of the Opera house in the end.
After wandering around Galeries Lafayette, we hit the boulevard to check out other shops. Among the shops was another destination for me – Uniqlo. This Japanese clothier is probably where I’ve gotten most of my clothing for the past few years. I’m a fan of many of their logo T-shirts. Also, prices in Uniqlo were much more affordable than the big brands over at Galeries Lafayette. So my visit to the Uniqlo in Paris became my Japanese shopping fix for the summer. I came away with a few T-shirts and an undergarment.
After shopping at Uniqlo, we wandered around the Opera house and took a look at stuff along the streets. It was our opportunity to take in the busy Parisian shopping street life.
We headed back towards Boulevard Haussmann and came up to Printemps, the other grand department store in this area. The corners of the store are adorned with beautifully decorated spires and the words “au printemps” splashed in beautiful mosaic tiles at the top.
This year also happened to be the 150th anniversary of Printemps. So the building was decked out a pink floral design complete with cute cartoon mascot.
The cute mascot is apparently, Rose – a lucky anniversary mascot, according to the department store’s news release. Rose is also the French word for pink. Pink is definitely the theme colour of their 150th anniversary celebrations at Printemps.
We actually didn’t spend much time in Printemps itself. However, I now realize that Printemps also has an equally stunning stained glass dome as the Galeries Lafayette. It would have been worthwhile to go up and take a peek.
In the end, all we got out of Printemps was some more macarons from the tiny Ladurée kiosk near one of the ground floor entrances. After a few hours out and about in the Paris afternoon, my back was still pretty sore. We headed home again for another quick meal of Shin Ramyun to call it a day. Hopefully by the next day, my back would have healed enough for me to move out and about Paris more freely.