Friday, June 10, 2016

On y trouvait tout

If you know Paris, then you might recognize La Samaritaine behind those stacked temporary construction offices. The iconic Parisian department store closed its doors in 2005 after the building was declared unsafe. A project to renovate and redevelop the site has been on-again/off-again ever since, with controversies related to historic preservation of facades and other elements of the buildings. I think, however, from what I've read, that agreements have been reached and construction is again proceeding.

I left the Place Dauphine and continued across the Pont Neuf to the Right Bank and La Samaritaine.

The department store is gone; it was having serious financial difficulties prior to the buildings' closures. The new project will include apartments, offices, and a luxury hotel, but only a minor retail component. The site is as prime a piece of real estate as any in Paris, and the art deco buildings are as recognizable to Parisians as Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower. I'm glad that they're not being destroyed.

Back in 1982, Ken and I and other members of our group would frequent the department store's café on the roof. For the price of a cup of coffee, you could spend hours up there taking in the views from what is essentially the center of Paris. It was a traditional café with waiters and seating outside in the open, replaced some years later with a more modern self-service kind of place. It was not the same. I wonder if the new project will include a roof-top café?

La Samaritaine's advertising slogan was "On trouve tout à la Samaritaine" (You can find everything at the Samaritaine) for many decades, so I used it in the past tense for my title.


  1. I wonder what happened to the fountain called La Samaritaine which stood there and gave its name to the department store?

    1. For those interested in what the Samaritaine fountain was, here is a link to a short explanation in French with pictures.

  2. "You can get anything you want at La Samaritaine!!"
    It fits the tune perfectly....
    Now I've got an ear worm!!

  3. It looks like a spectacular building. I'm glad it won't be lost. But, even more fascinating for me is that stacked "temporary" building.

  4. Walt

    A good piece on La Samaritaine: past , current status and projected futur:

  5. I had no idea about any of this, including that there was a café where you all used to hang out :)
    That's cool!
    I am so glad that they are saving the facade of the building.
    p.s. Goog job on the yard work!

  6. chm, merci pour le lien !

    tim, those days are gone. :(

    mitch, I was amazed by that, too. Never seen so many stacked so high.

    t.b., thanks!

    judy, we started going up there when the weather got better in Spring '82. It was really nice and not crowded. It kind of felt like a secret place. Going back years later was a real disappointment.


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