The iconic “Lafayette Coupole” dome at Galeries Lafayette’s flagship location in Paris.

Friends have always told me I’d love Galeries Lafayette in Paris. And my friends now me well. While in Paris for the first time recently, my lovely friend did her best showing me as much of Paris as possible in a just a few days. And on our last day we only had a few hours before we had to take to train back to Munich. She said we had enough time to either go up the Eiffel Tower or to Galeries Lafayette to shop. Before I could even answer, she looked me and said “Why did I even ask? We’ll go to Galeries Lafayette.” And apparently I’m not the only one. Galeries Lafayette is a super popular tourist attraction. You can even take a private tour – which I’ll totally being doing next time I’m there (And I’ll be that annoying person asking tons of questions).

The Boulevard Haussmann location in Paris is the legendary department store’s flagship and it’s massive – it’s over 648,000 square feet and carries 2,500 brands in luxury apparel, fashion, accessories and home decoration. It’s also the location of the incredibly beautiful stained glass dome “Lafayette Coupole” in the grand hall, a famous representation of Art Nouveau architecture. Designed by master glass-maker Jacques Gruber, at 43 metres, the done is the iconic symbol of Galeries Lafayette. People have been known to check out the Boulevard Haussmann location for the stained glass dome alone. In 2012, the store held a special event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of what many consider a masterpiece.

What originally began as a “luxury bazaar” in 1912, with the intention of wowing shoppers by the huge amount of abundance and luxury, the store’s popularity (and buyers) have stood the test of time. And while many still consider it to be a super high-end department store (the selection of luxury designers is incredible) there’s actually a wide range of prices, and pretty much something for everyone – I bought some cool sneakers.

The legendary department store has also been on a global expansion kick recently. It has 58 locations in France (who knew??) and in the past few years has opened locations in Berlin, Casablanca, Morocco, Dubai, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Beijing and planning in Doha, Qatar and Istanbul. And they just announced a massive new location set to open in Milan in a few years.

Check out Galeries Lafayette’s site to read more about the interesting history behind the store. And if you haven’t already been, next time you’re in Paris, make sure to check out the Boulevard Haussmann location. You won’t be disappointed.

Photos via Foter.com

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