The Best Department Stores in Paris (2024)

le bon marche at christmas

The battle among the best department stores in Paris for the ultimate title is pitched — and there are true believers in all corners.

Paris has excellent department stores, across the city. There’s enough of them as well that they all have the space to carve out slightly different sectors. Looking for something unassuming but lively, with a massive hardware shop in the basement? Go to BHV. (It’s like the Macy’s of Paris.) How about something at the opposite end of the scale — something truly opulent and over the top? Then you’ll be happy to head to La Samaritaine, reopened last year after a decades-long closure. Prefer something arty and sharp — with a world-class food hall? Le Bon Marché.

If you’re doing additional shopping in Paris, these are our picks for the best women’s shops, beauty shops, and bookstores.

Without further ado, the best department stores in Paris, ranked.

le bon marche - best department stores in paris

#1: Le Bon Marché

The city’s oldest department store is also its best. BHV is more practical, Galeries Lafayette more popular — but Le Bon Marché, born in 1852, is the best curated and most inventive, with regular pop-ups spotlighting artists (like Leandro Erlich, invited to meditate upon the Parisian sky), places (like Tokyo), and events (like the summer exodus).

That doesn’t even begin to get into the greatness of its foodhall, officially known as La Grande Épicerie de Paris Rive Gauche. Food here is divided into concession — you have your fruit ‘n’ veg, your fish, your cheese, your meat, etc — just as you’d see on a main thoroughfare, but also by nationality. (American students have been coming here for generations in search of peanut butter and PopTarts, though these are now easier to find at regular grocery stores across the city.) The book selection, as well as women’s clothing (including the only place to get Sézane that’s not a Sézane store) are remarkable.

The photo at top is an installation of “fleurs de pluie” by Japanese artist Oki Sato. 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007. Metro: Sèvres-Babylone.

best department stores in paris - bhv women's shop

#2: BHV

As noted: The Parisian version of Macy’s. BHV is more workaday than its competing department stores, but if you need a hammer, duvet, Chanel lipstick, towel, Moleskine, lamp, juicer, Marc Jacobs bag, or Topshop shorts, this is the place. It does have fun presentations every summer around a specific them (usually a destination) that brings in fun and unexpected designers from warm-weather spots.

The store has grown over the past few years, spilling into other stretches of the fourth: The men’s shop is now on rue de la Verrerie, as is a dedicated shop for pets. There’s a fantastic hardware store on the basement level, and a recently spruced-up cafeteria on the fifth floor with prices to match the expansive views. There are more spots to eat: La Table Cachée par Michel Roth (accessed through the lingerie department), the rooftop lounge Le Perchoir, and an outpost of the Lactem café on the third floor.  52 rue de Rivoli, 75004. Metro: Hotel de Ville.


galeries lafayette department store - cupola

#3: Galeries Lafayettes

Paris’s signature department store. Arrive by metro and your first encounter will be the magnificent, floor-wide shoe selection (make a beeline for the Repetto ballet shoes). The store is a top attraction come Christmas, when spectacular decorations are hung from the Belle Époque dome ceiling (see above). 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009. Metro: Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette.

la samaritaine best department stores in paris

#4: La Samaritaine

Man, this place is a lot. Specifically designed to appeal to top-dollar-spending visitors from the Middle East and Asia, the revamped La Samaritaine is over-the-top opulent. You won’t be surprised to hear that it’s owned by French luxury goods retailer LVMH (of the Louis Vuitton LVs.) Over 48,000 square meters, you’ll find essentially every high-end French brand, plus a Cinq Mondes-branded spa, a 72-room, five-star hotel (sample room rate: $2600/night), and more (if you’re rich enough to afford it). Ironic considering that in its original state, the store was designed to appeal to working-class Parisians. That…is no longer the case. 9 rue de la Monnaie, 75001. Metro: Pont-Neuf. 

#5: Printemps

The last of the four big names, with a tremendous beauty section. It’s also last on the list for us—except for the expansive roof terrace, which is glorious in good weather. 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009. Metro: Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette.

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