Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paris Shopping - The Printemps

Paris Shopping - Printemps Department Store

So this week has been full of all kinds of back to school shopping.  It's always fun to get three girls ready for school.  Each year as they get older, I swear it gets harder and of course more expensive.  I am working on a "Back to School" clothing post, as my girls feel this year their style has become a bit more French or European - but in the meantime, I wanted to write a little bit about a wonderful department store in Paris - Le Printemps.

In July, while we were in Paris, my husband wanted to take the girls into the original Printemps and show them a "big city" department store.  In the States, we always lived in the suburbs and only had mall department stores.  Printemps is a beautiful example of a big department store and has an incredible history.

According to their website:

(It's) 1865! A visionary entrepreneur is struck with a genius idea: to build a department store that offers everything. Several months later, Printemps opens its doors. Its name refers to the spring season, symbolising renewal, freshness and the blossoming of dynamic ideas. Right at the centre of Paris, it is the first to be equipped with electricity and to offer set prices: an incredible breakthrough at a time when haggling was commonplace.

Parisians make a beeline for Printemps... In the 1930s, the sumptuous Art Nouveau pavilion of Printemps is at the heart of the World’s Fair. But the store continues to innovate and move forward! Despite two fires, Printemps never ceases to renew, modernise and embellish itself... In 1975, it receives the absolute honour: the building’s facade is registered as a Historic Monument.

You can see from the photos that the building is stunning and so beautiful - not wonder it's become a national landmark.  My husband's mother worked at Printemps in the 1970's and he wanted to show his daughters what a special place it is.

 Parisian Stores are known to have some of the best window displays in the World.  There is just something very artistic and colorful about many of the windows.  I unfortunately didn't take any photos of the current window displays at the Printemps - but some examples can be seen here:  Printemps store Windows.  You can see below a couple other stores near Printemps and how fun their window displays look.

So once we went into Printemps, it's a whole special world.  It's truly a big city department stores with each designer having their own boutique or space in the store.  Burberry, Stella McCarthy, Kenzo, Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent just to name a few.  Not being a big city person myself, I felt a bit intimidated just walking through each floor.  It was also interesting to see that each designer area had it's own security guard and would only allow so many shoppers in the boutique area at one time.  They had ropes for people to wait behind if they wanted to go in and look around.  It was interesting to see that many of the serious buyers making purchases that day were Chinese.  Keep in mind this was July, so we were definitely looking at more tourists than true Parisians.  Many people like us were just browsing through - admiring the displays, the mannequins and the whole new shopping experience. My girls had fun telling us which mannequins had their style!  My middle daughter below loved the leather and jean look.  Each floor seemed to be set up this way - and then there was a whole floor designated just for shoes!  My husband was impressed with how the store had changed as his memory of it in the 1970's was that it had it's designer sections but the the majority of the store had moderately priced sportswear.  

 As we toured through the many floors of the store and continued up - we eventually landed on the top floor and viewed the beautiful and stunning brasserie

This restaurant is located under the legendary dome of the listed cupola, the Brasserie Printemps provides a remarkable setting where anyone can enjoy a tasty break. The Brasserie is known for its pastries, fragrant teas and cups of smooth chocolate.

After viewing the beautiful Brasserie, we headed down and across to the other building to see the stunning panoramic view from the roof.  There is also a little cafe up on the roof so one could sit and have a small bite, but we were more interesting in seeing the sights of Paris.

Waiting patiently for her turn...

Looking at the map to see the landmarks they can see.

Nothing like a mother and daughter photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background.  I'm not sure what the girls enjoyed more, the fashion of the store, the fun of all the neat displays or the view from the roof.  Printemps definitely has a lot to offer!  The store is actually made up of several buildings, A Woman's store, a Men's store, Children's shop and a Home Store.  We didn't take the time to tour it all - but it's definitely a different experience than walking through Macy's, Marshall Fields or  Lord & Taylor!

I had some fun with the following photos - it's fun to give them some history - after all - Printemps dates back to 1865!  I just love imagining Paris in the past -old cars or  horses, buggies, hats and dresses of the wealthy women shopping and living in Paris.  So much fashion history here.

 Above the view and how it looked today and below the same view as it might look in a movie.  So much fun to imagine!
 When we looked North off the roof, there was a stunning view of the Sacre Coeur.  

We enjoyed our time learning and touring around Printemps - but needless to say didn't buy anything there - but since my girls were in the mood to shop (who wouldn't be after touring one of the most beautiful stores in Paris) - we headed off to find some of our favorite smaller "affordable" stores to make the girls happy.  We will definitely enjoy returning to Paris and learning further about it's fashion history, styles and stores.  Who stop Champs-Elysees,


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  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful post. Stunning photos of this beautiful city which I never tire of visiting. I have been there many times and always enjoy a wander around Printemps. Your photos make me want to return soon! Looks like you all had a great time.

    1. Thank you for your comment - it's always nice to hear from you. We did have a wonderful time and the girls are still talking about our trip and their visit to the "cool" department store. I'm also looking forward to returning to Paris...such a fun city!

  3. Shopping in Paris is so wonderful! I love Printemps! Thanks for taking us along with you :)

    1. Thanks for your comment - I too love that store. I still remember when I was 16 and visited the store for the first time. Just leaves that kind of impression...This was a fun post to's amazing what a "little" store visit can turn into. Have a great weekend!


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