La Samaritaine is a department store located on the banks of the Seine, near the Louvre museum. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, purchased the building in 2001 and then spent seven years renovating it.
It has been closed for 16 years after being deemed unsafe and closed in 2005.
LVMH – led by one of the richest men in the world, Bernard Arnault – spent 750 million euros ($ 895 million) redevelopment of space, transforming it into a luxury shopping destination.
This week it opened to the public after having been painstakingly restored.
French President Emmanuel Macron joined LVMH CEO Arnault to open the new store on Monday.
The commercial part of the building is approximately 20,000 square feet.
There are also 15,000 square feet of offices, 96 social housing units and a hotel.
The hotel, called Cheval Blanc Paris, will only open on September 7.
According to Bloomberg, prices for a room from € 1,150 ($ 1,400) per night.
Spaces are dedicated to fashion, beauty and accessories for men and women.
There are over 600 different brands in the store, from old designers to new brands, spread across seven levels.
The glass roof is one of its most iconic features.
According to LVMH, this was rebuilt to match the original design from 1905.
Just below the roof, on the top floor of the building, is one of its bars and restaurants, the Voyage.
According to Vogue Business, this bar stays open long after the store closes at 8 p.m.
There are a dozen restaurants in the building.
There is also a spa and a beauty salon.
“We are trying to move away from the purely transactional side,” said Benjamin Vuchot, CEO of the DFS group, which operates the building for LVMH. Vogue Business.
“In a world where shopping is changing, we have to find different solutions. Hence the food and drink, the spa, the hair salon, ”he said.
But luxury shopping is still at the heart of the space, and it’s a place for LVMH to exhibit and sell all the brands it owns.
LVMH owns 75 brands.
These include Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Dom Pérignon champagne to name a few.
The focus is on in-store shopping – the store’s website is primarily for booking beauty or hairstyle appointments.
The department store was originally scheduled to reopen in 2020, but this has been delayed due to the pandemic.
With international travel still mostly at a standstill, it could be some time before tourists flock to the building – and tourism spending is vital to the luxury industry.
“We believe it will take a year or two for tourists to really come back,” DFS regional chairman Eleonore De Boysson said at a press conference this week, which was reported by Bloomberg.
For now, “we want Parisians to reclaim La Samaritaine”, she said. mentionned.