Despite the attempts of Milan and London, Paris was and remains the fashion capital. Everyone knows that Paris is the style and entourage law-maker; however, very few people know that Paris once was as well the innovator in sale rules. The modern culture of shopping was generated here. It is possible to do purchases, being dipped into shine and luxury and also to study history of modern trade in Paris.
The first Paris department store Le Bon Marche has been created under the project of Gustave Eiffel in 1852. The name “bon marche” is sometimes wrongly translated as “cheap”. And though the department store concept assumed in due time sale of the goods under lower prices, today Le Bon Marché is not the cheapest shop.
One of the meanings of “bon marche” is “the successful deal”. Today it seems improbable, but in the first French department store it was accepted to bargain. It was here for the first time when price lists on the goods and the fixed prices appeared; because of great volumes of trade the need for price discussion between the seller and the buyer has gradually disappeared. Here for the first time there were seasonal sales which make customers of all world go nuts.
Then, in the end of the XIX-th century, being surrounded by the abundance of luxury in a huge, by measures of that time, shop, female customers often sinned with larceny, using the magnificent skirts to hide the stolen goods. And it is not sophisticated, after all Le Bon Marche is a present kingdom of the goods and services.
Nowadays it is possible to find practically everything here. From perfumery, cosmetics, bags and hats located on the ground floor, to the goods for children, animals, house ware, and special design departments and so on. On the last floor there is a completely not modern and rare department “everything for needlework”, also there is a wedding salon and an excellent department of antiques that is not typical for today’s department stores.
And the grocery department – also exclusively rich – is not in this building. It is situated in a separate «Big grocery», located on the other side of the road. La Grande Epicerie is a present find for gourmets. There is an opinion among Parisians that if you cannot find something here it is possible that this product does not exist in the nature.
However, despite all variety of the offered goods Le Bon Marche is not overcrowded. And even during the sales season of there are practically no tourists. Or maybe the shop is just so huge…?
Planning having a walk on the left bank of the Seine after visiting Champ de Mars, Les Invalides and Jardin du Luxembourg take some time and visit Le Bon Marche. By the way it is the only decent shop on the left bank.
The department store works on week days 09:30-19:00, on Thursday 10:00-21:00, on Saturday 09:30-20:00. Grocery department La Grande Epicerie works from Monday to Saturday 08:30-21:00.
The address: 24 rue de Sèvres, 7th district.
Ph.: +33 1 44 39 80 00
Web site: www.bonmarche.fr
Metro station: Sèvres Babylone