Any retailer would be hard-pressed to find a more trafficked address in Paris than smack dab in front of I M Pei’s iconic inverted pyramid at the underground entrance to the Louvre museum. And that’s precisely where the gleaming new spaceship Printemps has landed.
The department store’s first new outpost in 32 years, and its most luxurious space to date, Printemps du Louvre marks a self-proclaimed “new era” for the historic retailer. In a bid to distinguish itself from arch-rival Galeries Lafayette, its neighbour on Avenue Haussmann, where the two flagship department stores reside side-by-side, Printemps has been upgrading with the aim of becoming “the best department store in the world for fashion, luxury and beauty”.
To that end, Printemps’ Haussmann concluded a five-year, $100-million facelift in 2012, one which involved the total renovation of its two historic landmark buildings’ original mosaics, zinc domes and miles of gold leaf decoration, and a ritzy redesign for the retail spaces. Recent innovations, like a revolving “themed” cafe – guest-designed by the likes of Vogue Paris, superstar chef Alain Ducasse and, presently, Baccarat – and popular capsule collections give the store an up-to-the-moment cachet.
The new 20,000-square-foot store carries a pared-down version of the mother ship’s first and mezzanine-floor luxury collection, minus the ready-to-wear.
Glittering chrome, marble, plush carpets and silvery ceilings provide a neutral backdrop for a colorful array of luxury leather goods, accessories and a beauty area on the ground floor, and high-end jewelry and watches on the mezzanine. The store’s central area functions as an exhibition space for a revolving series of art shows, in keeping with the Louvre theme, and to satisfy the second of visitors’ two main reasons for visiting Paris – shopping and culture.
Printemps Louvre, Carousel de Louvre, 99 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st. Tel: +33 1 76 77 41 00
From France Today magazine