LA SAMARITAINE, AN ICONIC PARISIAN DEPARTMENT STORE REBORN

The beautifully restored Art Nouveau interior of La Samaritaine. 

La Samaritaine has finally re-emerged, like the phoenix rising, if not from the ashes, from a long hibernation of neglect and deterioration that left a gap on the city skyline between the river Seine and the busy rue de Rivoli.  Its recent re-opening was a much anticipated event.  After 16 long years of closure, renovations, and some controversy, this historic icon is the ultimate grand magasin.  Definitely a must-see on your next visit to Paris!

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A PARISIAN LANDMARK REIMAGINED: LA BOURSE DE COMMERCE–PINAULT COLLECTION

La Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection. 

Over the last two years, despite the severe COVID restrictions, Paris somehow managed to work on a number of extraordinary cultural projects, most of which have now opened.  These were not small-scale ventures by any means.  As I’ve mentioned previously, two of these were the complete refurbishment of the enormous Musée Carnavalet, now re-opened, and the massive restoration of the Grand Palais, which is still ongoing.  Last post, I looked at the new Christian Dior museum, La Galerie Dior.  This time I’ll explore a huge project, the Bourse de Commerce, and next time another: La Samaritaine department store.

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LA GALERIE DIOR – A HOMAGE TO THE ARTISTRY OF THE ‘MASTER OF DREAMS’

Poster of the 1947 Bar Suit from the ‘Corolle’ collection by Christian Dior. 

Near the top of our list of must-sees on our recent visit to Paris was the Christian Dior museum, La Galerie Dior, which I briefly mentioned in the last blog.  I had read about its official opening, just 3 weeks before we hit town.  A good friend of ours, the manager of the beautiful Zegna menswear boutique on Ave. George V, urged us to make a visit a priority, as word was spreading fast.  This was also a great sign that things in Paris had re-opened, and that COVID was well and truly behind them.  The museum is located in part of the original couture headquarters at 30 Avenue Montaigne, in a magnificent Haussmann-era stone building.

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PARIS—AND THE REST OF FRANCE—ARE BACK IN BUSINESS!

A perfect spring day in the Upper Marais. 

As some of you know, we have just returned from 5 weeks in France.  It was a truly wonderful trip, spending 3 weeks in Paris before heading down to the glorious Burgundy district for almost 2 weeks.  Like everyone for whom travel is an essential part of life, we were anxious to spread our wings and head back to our favourite destination after the COVID-induced lockdowns of the last 2 years or so.

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MUSÉE NISSIM DE CAMONDO – A MAGNIFICENT MANSION DEDICATED TO THE 18TH CENTURY

The design of the mansion was inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles. 

There are so many wonderful museums in Paris, selecting which ones to visit when you’ve got limited time is a challenge.  We certainly have our favourites, and we also keep an eye on websites of Paris cultural institutions to check if there will be any special shows on during our next visit.  One of our favourites since we first discovered it some years ago is the Musée Nissim de Camondo, which backs onto the beautiful Parc Monceau, and has a number of embassies and discreet 5-star hotels as its neighbours.

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