Theme parks dedicated to the pleasures of consumption, temples to shopping, and odes to the art of spending, Parisian department stores have seduced shoppers for generations. If you’re short of time and want to name check all the French designers in one afternoon, or if the weather’s not conducive to promenading up and down the city’s fashion strips, opt for a day in one of the city’s dreamy grands magasins. Most have late-night opening until 9 p.m. once a week, typically on a Thursday, and some even offer Wi-Fi throughout. They all have a few restaurant options, some even offering great views over the city. Their superlative shop windows have also taken the art of window dressing to new heights of creativity. All said, Paris’s top department stores truly are a one-stop experience designed to fill your day—and empty your wallet. But even if you’re not shopping until you drop, know that browsing is just as fun.
Galeries Lafayette is famous for its stunning century-old stained-glass dome, arching over the stellar Beauty department. Inaugurated in 1912 and family owned for five generations, it’s quite possibly Paris’ favorite department store, and full of faithful shoppers any day of the week. P.S. There’s late night opening till 9 p.m. on Thursdays.
You’ll get one of the best views of Paris from the rooftop café of this Parisian department store, located next door to the Galeries Lafayette. A listed historical monument, its Art Nouveau architecture has plenty of wow factor, and over the last few years, under new owners, it’s been transformed into a serious fashion destination, name-checking all the luxury brands, from Chanel to Dior, to YSL or Hermès.
BHV / Marais
A recent overhaul has seen this quaint inner-city bazaar be jazzed up for Marais trendsetters, luring stylish Parisians and hipsters by the dozens. There’s an endlessly renewed roster of invited brands and pop-ups. Thankfully, they kept the much-loved basement DIY department intact. Bonus: It has late-night opening until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Franck & Fils
A chichi department store out in the West, Franck & Fils is entirely dedicated to women’s wear. On the ground floor, find Chanel, Dior, Tod’s, or Fendi; on the first floor, designer fashion and more classic brands, the shoe department, and lingerie. On the second floor, international brands cohabit with the tearoom-cum-restaurant Le Café de la Grande Epicerie de Paris—go for some downtime between shopping marathons.