Paris is rich in history and is known for some of the most beautiful monuments in the world. Places like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or Sainte Chapelle to name a few.
But there is one place in particular that does not get nearly as much credit as it should… and that’s Le Bon Marché – rive gauche.
This department store is one of the oldest department stores in the world!
Le Bon Marché was founded in 1838 by the Boucicaut family. Reinventing the way people shopped then and now. They were also the first to publish a store catalog that included swatches of colors and materials to attract shoppers.
It was created to be a one stop shop- where you could buy anything from trousers to mattresses. In a period when the place of the bourgeois housewife was extremely limited and controlled, the store became a safe haven for upper/middle-class women where they could socialize and shop independently from their husbands.
The Boucicaut family quickly understood the thirst for shopping among the wealthy classes, and the difficulty for anyone outside of Paris to travel to the store to visit for only a day. They wanted to attract clients from all over France and beyond, and so they built the Lutetia palace hotel, just a stone’s throw from the Bon Marché. Now they could sell their clients food and accommodation too!
Today, the Boucicaut’s would be impressed to know that their design and dream is still standing and that their hotel is still one of Paris’s most luxurious. So the next time you are in Paris, make sure to stop by and take in the history of Le Bon Marché- rive gauche!
In the mood for some shopping now?
Make sure to take a look at our selection of some of our favorite French items on the MFCH Boutique