Covid-19 had other plans about La Samaritaine reopening in April 2020, so a new date has been set -- February 2021. This is for two reasons: 1. Many things are being changed to make the store Covid-compatible (or any future plagues that await us), notably things like the changing rooms, the restrooms and the width and layout of the aisles, and 2. The store is aimed at high-end Asian visitors and they won't be back in Paris until Februrary at the earliest.
So, they are taking their time with the finishing touches, particularly after the covid work interruption.
La Sanaritaine has special memories for me. With my mother in 2000 at lunch in their restaurant and with my husband a year or two later, showing him the incredible iron structure inside, whilst browsing the books section and buying another book on Paris.
I also really appreciate the photo of No.1 Pont Neuf building where some years later, we had lunch under the glass dome of Kong. A lovely experience. We were surrounded by cranes and work going on at La Sanaritaine.
You may know or maybe not know or simply forgotten why this enormous department store has the name Samaritaine. As I was brought up C of E, I dimly remember a story from the Bible about a Good Samaritan . But this story is different. When Ernest Cognacq,, a former draper's assistant at La Rochelle , first set up shop on rue du Pon-Neuf in 1867, he called it La Samaritan in memory of the old water pump situated at the Pont Neuf till the early 19th Century. Fast forward 30 years. He commissions Franz Jourdain to put up a building to house a full-size department store, a structure of steel and glass in keeping with the progressive spitrit of the time. It's now 1926 (my mother is 5 years old and her sister my Aunt Hazel Eulilie, just 3), Franz Jourdain and Henri Sauvage build the facade on the Quai du Louvre, one of the best examples of Art Deco in Paris.
In 1930 a new building was added to the corner of rue de Rivoli and rue Boucher , boasting an interesting frieze around it and an impressive staircase inside. All these bear witness to the golden age of department stores, which enabled modest men of genius to build small empires within a few decades. With help of his dynamic wife, Louise Jay, also a draper's assistant, from rue Rambuteau, Cognacq used his meteoric success to build up a fabulous art collection, now housed in the Musee Cognacq-Jay in the Marais.
The cost of store items and nightly charges for the hotel boggle the mind. It will be interesting to see how many serious shoppers this place actually attracts in the short-term, before the Chinese tourists return to Paris. I also imagine the cost of real estate in this area will really skyrocket, making the apartment buildings to the east even more valuable.
Kerouac, somehow I just can’t see you wandering around the interior, snapping away with your trusty camera. Good luck.
Probably to replace the spectacular outdoor terrace, there is a truly amazing HD webcam showing the view of the Seine. I think the outdoor terrace is likely to return, but as part of the 5-star Cheval Blanc hotel in the building, which will open in September. Although I doubt that they would dare to filter access to such a viewpoint, I imagine that a lot of people will be too intimidated to enter.
another store brand
You don't need a crowd of customers to make a profit here, just a few.
Here's an interesting new item to buy from Louis Vuitton.
I can already imagine the Saudi princes riding their bikes through their air conditioned palaces between the bedroom and the dining room.
Oh you did such a splendid job Keroauc. I watched a YouTube video within hours of La Samaritaine opening, and you where right about holding back until now. It was a good attempt but went on repeating the same views over and over. I loved the Art Neuveau balustrading and art work around the interior. Those peacocks were splendid. I have been trying to wrack my brains as to what the Restaurant was called when I took my mum there. I'm sure it was a bird name.... Thank you so much for the photos. I cant wait to get there!
Here is a report by an American vlogger whom I find consistently irritating, but she goes more deeply into some of the departments. And also it shows how totally tolerant they are of people filming and taking pictures. After all, it is totally free publicity.
The son of a friend of mine works for Louis Vuitton. Even their employees get only a miserable 10% discount. And when he once told his mother to choose herself something as a present that he would get for her with his discount, she told me, "But I don't even like their products!".
What I always enjoy is how the city of Paris can strongarm companies lie LVMH when they are seeking building permits. For the Samaritaine operation, the city demanded the inclusion of low income housing in the project. Although the average price of real estate in the neighbourhood is 13,800 euros per square metre, the city paid 4,250 euros per square metre with enough space to put 96 apartments, from studio to 4 bedrooms. 24 of the apartments are for ultra precarious social conditions, basically unemployed and almost homeless people. They were distributed according to strict emergency lodging rules, and the people did not even know exactly where they would be moving. The other apartments are "normal" low income house and have been given account according the the standard waiting lists. They are on the rue de l'Arbre Sec side, so they have views of the Louvre, the St. Germain l'Auxerrois church and the Eiffel Tower. I read that "the apartments have the same view as some of the 1000 euro suites in the hotel."
An article about the first residents, who arrived back in October, said that they had no idea where to get groceries and bread at first, but the building caretaker told them were to find everything. Actually, the streets between rue de Rivoli and the Forum des Halles still have plenty of ordinary little shops and a couple of superettes (but for how much longer?). La Samaritaine also has a crèche for 80 babies and almost as much office space as the store.
Apartment operations like this will continue because the law says that each area must have at least 25% social housing, and this brings the 1st arrondissement up to 11% (after being at only 4% in 2001).
Perhaps new food places will appear now there are more people needing groceries, but when I stayed in this area one summer the only store on the Seine side of rue de Rivoli selling food was a very tiny Franprix.