Travel

Though it’s often (mistakenly) credited as being the first department store, there’s no doubt that Le Bon Marché’s founders, Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut, were pioneers, particularly in a culture that so adamantly prizes specialty stores. Launched in 1838 as an extension of the Boucicaut’s single market stall, it became a fixed-price department store in 1850 (before, you would barter), moving into its sweeping, art deco home in 1867. While it’s been expanded several times since (and now belongs to LVMH), it’s still inarguably one of the most beautiful, large-scale shops in existence. Whether you’re looking for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Maje, or Iro, it’s likely here: Along with lingerie, kids clothing, furniture, household essentials, and shoes and bags. The food hall, La Grand Épicerie, is pretty insane, offering an embarrassingly rich array of specialty products, from Fauchon macarons to Baltic smoked fish. Many visitors concentrate their buying power here in order to hit the spending level required for VAT.

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