Galeries Lafayette are well known for being an unmissable Parisian shopping post. But there are not often seen as a touristic place to visit. However, with more than 125 years of History, Galeries Lafayette embodies the modern history of Paris, and possesses many architectural gems. Galeries Lafayette has launched unique guided tours to discover its heritage in an intimate way.
You might be convinced that shopping in Galeries Lafayette is a must-do while traveling to Paris. But visiting the "Grand Magasin" through a guided tour might seem a bit awkward to you: don't worry, we will explain to you why you should not miss this unique experience!
If you have already been to Galeries Lafayette, you know that the mall is almost always full of people (being the favorite shopping spot of both Parisians and Tourists). The guided tours start at 9 a.m, one hour before the official opening. It's a unique experience to walk in that incredibly huge building without anyone around!
The guided tour is organized by professional guides, which have been working for the Galeries Lafayette Heritage department. The tour is the result of years of research in Galeries Lafayette archives. Created in 1894, Galeries Lafayette are the symbol of a new way of shopping, the "Grand Magasin" (malls). This phenomenon is well described by the famous writer Emile Zola, in the late 19th century, in his Book The Ladies' Paradise: the development of huge malls, with fixed prices, electricity, ready-to-wear products, sale seasons... By discovering the History of Galeries Lafayette, you also learn a lot about Fashion history, Parisian history, shopping history, and Architecture! There are many incredible anecdotes to discover (a plane landed on the roof in 1919, there are up to 12 000 people working for Galeries Lafayette, there used to be an open toboggan to send products from one floor to the other...).
"La Coupole" is an Art Nouveau Masterpiece Created by master glassworker Jacques Gruber, and one of the Parisian most iconic architectural gems. The stained glass currently in place forms an immense flower comprised of 10 luminous sections stretching over a total of 1000m².
If anyone can enjoy the dome from the inside of the Mall, access to the outside is strictly prohibited. Except for the lucky people enjoying the guided heritage tours! You can see very closely the artwork and stroll around it, like the artists and craftsmen who created it.
With such a long history, Galeries Lafayette had witnessed many enlargements and different architectural styles (Art Nouveau, Art Déco...). During the tour, you can of course enjoy information about these architectural heritages, but also discover some small details that are hidden in the buildings, and tell many stories about how the building was in the past.
Conscious of the History and precious Heritage of Galeries Lafayette, the owning family (descendants of the founder) decided to take well care of the archives and historical objects and created a dedicated room to collect and display these gems. Usually, that room is not open to the public, but during the tour, you have the unique chance to visit it and to discover many historical objects and documents (old posters and announcements, unique creations, ancient mirrors....)
Among all the objects in the museum, there are a few very old clothes creations from the early 20th century. These historical clothes are very fragile and not often shown to the public. It's a unique chance to admire these masterpieces and learn about their history, especially if you are interested in fashion.
With it's 7 floors, Galeries Lafayette possesses one of the best Parisian rooftops, which offers a unique view all over Paris. During the tour, you can access to unique viewpoints from the Galeries Lafayette Archives.
The tour ends on the rooftop, where you can enjoy a perfect photo spot with almost nobody since the tour ends when Galeries lafayette just opens to regular customers.
Being an intimate and exclusive experience, the Guided Heritage tour is not done on a daily base. Right now there are around 2 tours in English each month (usually on Saturday, 9a.m), for small groups (around 10 people). It costs 15€ per person (10% discount with the code GLOBONPARIS, see below), and the meeting point is at Porte Lafayette of the main store (at the corner of Boulevard Haussmann and Rue de la Chaussée d’Antin). The tour lasts for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
You can reserve your seats by choosing a date on the calendar below and follow the different steps until confirmation:
1) Choose the date and number of participants, and click on the "Add to shopping cart" button.
2) Click on 'Redeem coupon code', type the code GLOBONPARIS and validate with 'apply coupon' to get an immediate 10% discount.
3) Provide your contact information and proceed to payment
If you have specific questions or requests, you can contact the Lafayette Heritage team through this mail: [email protected]
Your tour finishes when the Mall opens. That's the perfect timing for you to continue by doing some shopping before too many customers arrive. Don't forget to have a look at our exclusive voucher by clicking here, to enjoy unique gifts while shopping in Galeries Lafayette!