Exceptional Time at La Samaritaine, Paris

Side view of La Samaritaine

Updated On: June 10, 2024 by   Aya RadwanAya Radwan

Are you in Paris’ 1st arrondissement and looking to enjoy architecture and shopping together? La Samaritaine Department Store offers just that. With its Art Nouveau façade and attractive internal design, some argue it must be listed as a historical landmark rather than a shopping centre.

In this article, we will discuss La Samaritaine, its history, what you can do there and nearby, where to stay close to it, and where to get a bite.

History of the La Samaritaine

This massive department store building was once the tiny dream store of Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jay, which they named Magasin 1. Ernet and Marie-Louise met in 1871 when he hired her as his sales assistant, they were married the following year.

The couple worked hard and saved enough money to buy the building they worked for, now known as La Samaritaine. Their success in buying all the shops around them was due to some policies they adopted, such as letting customers try clothes on before buying them.

As business began to boom in 1891, the owners commissioned architect Frantz Jourdain, a prominent figure in the iron-work architectural and Art Nouveau style, to take charge of the expansion and remodelling of the shops, then called Magasin 1.

Street view of La Samaritaine
Street view of La Samaritaine

The new building, known as Magasin 2, was located across the street. By the time construction was complete in 1910, the building had filled a complete block of four rues. The structure of Magasin 1 was also upgraded with a steel frame to match Magasin 2.

Later, the steelwork design of the stores had to be altered due to new architectural waves. The glass domes, for example, were removed, and the building’s Art Nouveau style was changed to conform more to the Art Deco style. By the beginning of the 1930s, La Samaritaine consisted of four Magasins with 11 stories.

Despite La Samaritaine’s massive success, the department store began to incur losses in the 1970s. The building’s structure also began to deteriorate, eventually leading to its closure in 2005, which required reconstruction, redevelopment, and updating of safety standards.

The company’s owner, LVMH, commissioned a Japanese design company called SANAA to handle the renovation. La Samaritaine was initially set to reopen in 2019, however, due to delay in the reconstruction process several times, the giant department store finally reopened its doors in 2021.

Where is La Samaritaine?

This department store is located at 9 Rue de la Monnaie, 75001, in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, the French Capital.

Is La Samaritaine Paris Open?

Since 23 June 2021, La Samaritaine has been officially open to the public again.

How to get to La Samaritaine?

There are two metro stations close by:

  1. Pont Neuf.
  2. Louvre-Rivoli. 

La Samaritaine Paris Opening Hours

Every day of the week, La Samaritaine is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

La Samaritaine Paris Recruitment

DFS, a company operating in La Samaritaine, offers excellent opportunities to enter the world of luxury retail. Through its core values and Employer Promise, DFS offers several career paths.

They offer paths to explore, including Corporate Functions, Merchandising and Planning, Store Operations, and Management Development Programs. They even provide a Graduate Development Program, an excellent way for fresh graduates to build up experience.

Since the positions available can change occasionally, it is best to check their official website to keep up to date frequently.

What to do at La Samaritaine

This renovated department store is not only for shopping—some would say luxury shopping. It also has beauty salons, restaurants, a brewery, a spa, the so-called Parisian Department, and even some offices.

Interior of La Samaritain decorated at Christmas
The interior of La Samaritan is decorated at Christmas

The Parisian Department is promoted as the way to experience fashion in the “Parisian” way. It is where you get to sit comfortably and one of the assistants will pick items for you to try, from different boutiques, according to your taste of course.

On occasion, the store offers a beauty class, during which you can learn some of the tips and tricks of makeup and perhaps enjoy a beauty treatment as well.

Attractions near La Samaritaine

1.    Eglise St. Germain d’Auxerrois:

This French Gothic church was built in the 12th century and finished in the 15th century. Construction on the building, which is still standing today, began in the 13th century and underwent modifications in the 15th and 16th centuries. The church is dedicated to Saint Germanus of Auxerre, who met the Patron Saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve, on his travels.

Many artists who worked on the decoration of the church and its paintings, such as Antoine Coysevox, are buried inside the church. Since the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in 2019, the cathedral’s services have been held at the Eglise St. Germain d’Auxerrois.

2.    Louvre Museum:

The Louvre does not need an introduction as it welcomes the largest number of visitors from around the world each year. The museum’s collection of artwork, artefacts, sculptures, and antiques amounts to 615,797 objects. The artifacts are divided into five departments: Egyptian Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints, and Drawings.

The illuminated glass pyramid at The Louvre
The illuminated glass pyramid at The Louvre

The museum is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and closes on Tuesdays. Tickets to the Louvre cost €15 when bought at the museum and €17 when bought online. Do keep in mind that the last entry to the museum is one hour before closing time, and all show rooms are cleared 30 minutes before closing.

3.    59 Rivoli:

This art gallery with an unusual façade is one of Paris’s best gathering spots for artists and art lovers. With free entry, you can enjoy many forms of art, such as paintings, sculptures, and electronic art, on display and even buy them. The gallery welcomes visitors every day from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

59 Rivoli is instead called an Art Squat because of its beginning, when many artists, such as Gaspard Delanoe, squatted inside the building and began showcasing their works. The legal status of the building was corrected when Paris City Hall bought it, renovated it, and reopened it in 2009.

4.    Square du Vert-Galant:

This cosy garden in the shape of a triangle is located on the Ile de la Cité and is a perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just watch the world around you as you relax in the middle of The Seine. The park is full of different types of trees, and it is always a good idea to check the weather conditions before visiting since the park can get flooded with water if there’s heavy rain or flooding.

Where to stay near La Samaritaine

1.    Timhotel Le Louvre (4 rue Croix des Petits Champs, 1st arr., 75001 Paris, France):

Less than half a kilometre away from La Samaritaine and the Louvre Museum, Timhotel Le Louvre offers brightly coloured and modernly furnished rooms. The patio is decorated with beautiful flowers, perfect for breakfast on a sunny morning.

A Twin Room with two single beds for two nights, with taxes and charges, will cost €416. An additional €14 can be added to enjoy breakfast. This offer includes free cancellation and payment at the property.

2.    Hôtel Bellevue et du Chariot d’Or (9, rue de Turbigo, 3rd arr., 75003 Paris, France):

This hotel is about a kilometre from La Samaritaine and is highly rated for its location, cleanliness, staff friendliness, and comfort. It is also reasonably close to other attractions like the Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral.

A Double Room with one double bed for a two-night stay will cost €247 plus taxes and charges, with the option of free cancellation and payment at the property. If you wish to pay in advance, this room will cost €231 instead if you wish to book a Twin Room with two single beds, €255 plus taxes and charges.

3.    Hotel Andréa (3 Rue Saint-Bon, 4th arr., 75004 Paris, France):

About half a kilometre from La Samaritaine, Hotel Andrea is close to Pompidou Centre and less than a kilometre from the Notre Dame Cathedral. The hotel offers some rooms with balconies where you can sit outside and enjoy something warm or cold.

A Double Room with one large double bed for two nights will be €349 plus taxes and charges, and they offer a delicious breakfast as well. A Deluxe Double Room with a Balcony will raise the price to €437, plus taxes and charges and breakfast.

4.    Hotel Clément (6 rue Clement, 6th arr., 75006 Paris, France):

With antique-decorated rooms and a great location close to the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral, Hotel Clement is less than a kilometre from La Samaritaine. If you plan to visit the Luxembourg Gardens, they are only 600 meters away.

For a two-night stay, you can choose between a Superior Room with one double bed or a Twin Room with two single beds. With free cancellation and payment at the property, the stay will cost €355 with taxes and charges. When reserving either room, an extra €12 can be added to enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

5.    Cheval Blanc (La Samaritaine Paris Hotel):

This luxury hotel has opened its doors after renovations to offer a new level of luxury. Cheval Blanc offers a panoramic view of the city ahead of you with comfort and elegance.

Since it is a luxury hotel, rooms at the Cheval Blanc start from €1,450 per night, including taxes and charges, for a Deluxe Room, with breakfast included. Suites are also available for booking, with prices starting at €2,250 per night.

Top Places to Eat near La Samaritaine

1.    Coffee Crepes (24 quai du Louvre 24 Quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris France):

This French café and restaurant offers many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The menu’s price range is between €4 and €20. Reviewers recommend the place for having some of the best crepes in Paris and say it is perfect for brunch or to grab some coffee.

2.    Le Louvre Ripaille (1 rue Perrault Metro Louvre Rivoli, 75001 Paris France):

With beautiful tables lined outside, this restaurant also offers dining inside at a great price range between €18 and €33. Le Louvre Ripaille specializes in French and European cuisines, with vegetarian-friendly options as well. Reviewers loved the delicious food and great prices.

3.    Beccuti Bar (91 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris France):

If you are craving Italian food for any meal of the day, this is the place for you. Beccuti offers great vegetarian-friendly and vegan options as well as traditional Italian dishes. Reviewers said that authentic Italian food is rare in Paris, and they found it here, at Beccuti. 

4.    Le Fumoir (6 rue de l Amiral Coligny, 75001 Paris France):

Specializing in French and European cuisines, with healthy and vegetarian-friendly options, Le Fumoir has a great price range between €10 and €23. Guests have highly praised their grilled beef fillet and the tasting menu, and one guest even said the salmon appetizer was one of the best they had in their 70 years.

5.    Au Vieux Comptoir (17 rue Lavandieres Ste Opportune proche de la place du Châtelet, 75001 Paris France):

Awarded the Traveler’s Choice badge in 2021 on TripAdvisor, Au Vieux Comptoir offers French, European and vegetarian-friendly options. The place is excellent for a lovely dinner experience and for trying something new at a price range between €37 and €74.

What People are saying about La Samaritaine (TripAdvisor Reviews)

Reviewers on TripAdvisor have all agreed that the redesigning of La Samaritaine has been phenomenal, especially the decorative elements of the interior. The company responsible for the redesign used these elements to lure visitors to explore the upper stories of the building, hence increasing consumer traffic.

The new building was compared to other high-end Paris stores, such as Galleries LaFayette, Printemps, and Harrods in London. The same reviewer said the place should be considered a museum rather than a retail shop since the prices are a bit high for many buyers.

I suppose this concludes it: if you’re up for spending some time in a warm-toned building and atmosphere, you can visit La Samaritaine to enjoy your time. You don’t need to buy anything!

Have you ever been to La Samaritaine? How was it? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

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