Did you know that the department store concept was created in Paris? It was in the mid-1800s that Paris shopping moved from covered passages to les grands magasins. These big stores set up shop on wide boulevards with plenty of lighting. It was in 1893 that two cousins from Alsace opened what is now known as Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, which is one of the most famous department stores in the world. Like a massive jewel box, the Art Nouveau architecture and Neo-Byzantine stained glass dome are draws just as much as the merchandise inside. Said to be the second-most visited site in Paris behind the Eiffel Tower, there are many things to do at Galeries Lafayette other than shopping.
Take a Galeries Lafayette History Tour
Whether you’re an architecture lover, history buff, or just curious about the legend that is Galeries Lafayette, this is the one tour you won’t want to miss. From construction secrets to the hidden messages to the Louis Majorelle-designed staircase banister inspired by Palais Garnier, on this hour-long tour, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at this 125-year old family business. Tours operate ever Saturday and Sunday, costing €13.50 per adult and €9.00 per child. Go here for more information and bookings.
Have a Wine and Cheese Tasting
One can’t rightly visit Paris and not have at least one wine and cheese tasting. Located on the third floor of Galeries Lafayette is an all-new space known as L’Appartement. It is here that you’ll dive into the deliciously complicated world of French wine and cheese. Whether you’re a novice wanting an introduction or are well versed in the virtues of French vin and fromage, this 1.5 hour class will quench your thirst. A brief introduction of French wine is followed by a tasting of four wines—two whites and two reds. Naturally, each wine is perfectly paired with a cheese, alongside a basket of bread.
Weather a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Loire Valley, paired with a goat cheese or a bold Côtes du Rhône, paired with a Tomme de Brebis, you’re sure to discover something new. And as an added bonus, all of the wines and cheeses are available at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet. Tastings occur every Monday and Wednesday from 12:30-2:00 pm, as well as Fridays from 6:00-7:30 pm. Cost is €55 and open to those 18-years old and older. Find more information about the tastings here.
Galeries Lafayette is giving my readers a 10% discount on this tasting. Enter the code WINENOT upon checkout. The offer is limited…for how long, I don’t know. Just plug it in and see!
Take a Macaron Baking Class
If you have more of a sweet tooth, then the macaron baking class will be more your taste. Supposedly, the macaron was brought to France from Italy by Catherine de’Medici in the 1500s. Though, at that time it didn’t look like the pastel mini-hamburgers that we know today. That transformation is credited to Ladurée. Instead of forking over a couple of euros a pop for a ready-made macaron, you can try your hand at making them yourself. Every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:00-4:30 pm, ganache is being whipped up in the Galeries Lafayette L’Appartement. For €49, you’ll learn the macaron-making techniques and take them home to your kitchen. Hop over here for more details on the class.
Attend a Fashion Show
Paris is arguably the fashion capital of the world, and there’s no better place to see it than under the Galeries Lafayette stained glass cupola. With so many racks to browse through, finding that ‘right’ look can feel a little overwhelming. For some style inspiration, step into one of Galeries Lafayette’s fashion shows. Located on the 4th floor in the Opera room, male and female models strut their stuff wearing the season’s latest trends. The 30-minute shows are held every Friday at 3:00 pm. Tickets are €12 per adult and €9 for children under 12. Find out more here.
Sign up for a Beauty Masterclass
Of course, being beautiful on the inside is the most important, but surely feeling beautiful on the outside feels good, too. At the Galeries Lafayette beauty masterclass, you’ll kick start your beauty routine with the help of experts. From learning how to properly prep your skin to makeup application techniques, this workshop is perfect for breaking out of your beauty rut. Each month, the masterclasses will be presented by a different French luxury beauty brand. For the month of March, it’s Sisley. Enroll in Galeries Lafayette’s beauty masterclass every Tuesday from 10:30 am-12:00 pm. Cost is €30 per person and open to those aged 16+. Read more here.
There are plenty of things to do at Galeries Lafayette other than shopping, but let’s be real, that’s the big draw. Well, the shopping and the stunning stained-glass cupola. I mean, if there’s a more beautiful department store in the world then I’ve never seen it.
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