When will La Samaritaine reopen? This is the question we regularly ask when walking by the department store still proudly sitting a stone's throw from the Pont-Neuf. For about 20 years, it has been closed while inside, a true revolution was happening. But you will have to be patient: the opening of La Samaritaine initially planned in April 2020, has been postponed.
Yet, according to Le Parisien on Tuesday October 13, 2020, almost everything is ready for the LVMH group entrusted with the project. Sole hotel Cheval Blanc requires about a month to be fully ready. La Samaritaine is said to only wait for the perfect moment for a return in the best conditions.
All in all, it's an area covering 70,000sqm that Parisians and tourists can discover. In the meantime, let us tell you more on the transformation of this iconic place and its 150-year-old story.
A bit of background...
For the record, La Samaritaine was created in 1870 by Ernest Cognacq. This seller opens his novelty business in a room near a café. Very quickly, success comes around and the store gets bigger. In 1900, Ernest Cognacq rules over department stores and takes over several blocks. La Samaritaine develops and revolves as run by its successive owners. It reaches its golden age in the 1960's.
After 1970, the commercial success of the department store goes downhill. It gets smaller and stores are sold to companies and turned into offices. In 2001, LVMH group takes over La Samaritaine. Four years later, the store closes for renovation works. This closing could have been temporary, La Samaritaine is still closed.
Originally, works were thought to last until 2015. The latter have been highly delayed. Reopening announcements have been made for 2018 and 2019. And now, it's official, La Samaritaine is said to reopen in April 2020. Even though, it's the smallest department store in Paris, this new Samaritaine is a pharaonic project. Taken over by LVMH, La Samaritaine expects to be the talk of the city! So what should we expect?
The smallest department store...
...but the biggest concept-store. This is how the upcoming La Samaritaine sets the tone! A 20,000sqm shopping mall likely to make any serial-shopper happy. This is the La Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf, a new concept store highlighting what makes the charm of Paris: fashion, food and art de vivre!
Calling all shopping-addicts, over 600 brands expect you under the legendary glass roof of the shopping mall. You have luxury brands of course, as well as exclusivities and young designers that will probably make tomorrow's fashion. By the way, we even have a 200sqm concept store. Every style and taste should meet. You get it, this is the place to be if you follow fashion or launch trends.
We also discover a 3000sqm beauty area, the biggest so far that we can find in Paris and where you can find exclusive gems. And since beauty also means wellness, how about delighting those in need of some pampering time? A Spa and a beauty-studio are also in!
We spoke about shopping, lifestyle, what do we miss? Oh, yes, food! The entire 5th floor is devoted to food. Restaurants, cafés and tearooms, all in all, 10 food corners are ready to make you taste the best of French cuisine. From the creativeness of a starred chef to the greed of the trendiest pastry, you'll be stuffing your faces.
The new Samaritaine, a new place of life
At the time temples of shopping tend to become real places of life, La Samaritaine is no exception and goes even beyond. So, when the phoenix rises from the ashes, you can expect shopping but not only!
Seine side, this Art Déco gem welcomes a new Parisian Palace, the Cheval Blanc. A new spot featuring 26 bedrooms and 46 suites with views on the riverbanks and Notre-Dame and owns the biggest swimming pool in Paris. Pastry chef Maxime Frédéric also left George V kitchen to entertain the Cheval Blanc taste buds!
But tourists are not the only winners with this new La Samaritaine: this store rises from the ashes and also includes 96 social housings entrusted to Paris Habitat and an 80-spot day care managed by "Les Petites Canailles" as well as 15,000sqm offices.
An eco-friendly project
Covering over 70,000sqm, 10 stories is part of an innovative environmental approach. To get it right, let's speak technique.
The new La Samaritaine uses renewable energies: it's air-conditioned with deep geothermy and ice stocking processes. LVMH group also committs for the environment and the economy. 800 positions have been created for the department store, 380 for the Cheval Blanc Paris hotel, restaurants, daycare, security... All in all 1500 positions will be proposed first to the employees working there until 2005. With the offices, La Samaritaine is expected to bring 2400 new positions.
The project of the conception has been entrusted to Japanese agency Sanaa, Pritzker award winner 2010. To combine innovation and heritage, Jean-François Lagneau - head architect of historic buildings - took part in the project. The upcoming works for the Cheval Blanch hotel are supervised by Edouard François.
Note that Otis company has also been called in to fit the new Samaritaine with lifts and escalators by the public reopening in 2020. Otis also plans to set 25 escalators and over 40 lifts serving the department store, the Cheval Blanc, the offices, the housings and the daycare.
19 Rue de la Monnaie
75001 Paris 1