Looking at this map of Paris, my neighborhood, the 6th arrondissement on the Left Bank of the Seine, is between Montparnasse (represented by the tall building), Notre Dame, which looks like its sitting right in the Seine (river) and the Cafe table/chairs with the dog nearby.
This post is going to take you to the Right Bank and close to the Opera Garnier which is a choice spot for a tour or an evening performance but I have you headed to Galeries Lafayette, one of the two department stores on the Right Bank, the other being Printemps, both located on Blvd. Hausmann. According to ‘google maps’ it would take about 35 minutes to walk there from Metro Odeon, as an example, but, of course, you have other choices–metro, bus, taxi, etc. Also, I recognize you are not necessarily coming from the 6th arrondissement but it gives you some idea of distancing while you are in Paris.
This is what the area looks like. I want to say this is the back of the Opera House on the right.
Guess what! You will soon discover I am not the only one that had this idea (2016) and I have no doubt it is repeated every year, with the exception of maybe this year?
So I met up with a bit of a competition with the young…and well, older too…ahem….But I think you will see why this is a thrill for all ages! One does like to see the windows at dusk and into the dark of the evening. Dodging heads has become a new learned talent of mine!
Magical, wouldn’t you agree? Every year, all the Paris department stores put on a window show at the Holidays! And they are brought to animated life by animal characters that charm–yup, ‘young and older’…
For the piece de la resistance–in other words, the showpiece! Step inside the door of Galeries Lafayette! Ta Da!!
I am no good at judging how high the rotunda is but I found this explanation on their website: “From our 9-metre long walkway suspended 16 metres high in mid-air, you can get right into the middle of the dome from the 3rd floor of the main store. Get ready for a unique experience and admire 120 years of history, elegance and French lifestyle.” (16 meters is over 52 feet high!) See a taste of 2020 and the theme of the season: https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en/christmas-traditions/
So it is astounding to walk in and see this space! I was frozen in place with my awe look. Every year the themed tree is so impressively decorated, it is worth a special trip to head over and take in the amazement of the store’s stylists’ design work! In the last photo above, can you see the ‘sky train’ running from the tree to the walkway on the third floor?
There is a ‘food court’, of sorts, downstairs, which involves many mini shops but also some that have an area to sit down allowing you to eat….or…I might suggest a bite to eat at the famous Cafe de la Paix, located in the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, very walkable and just across the street from the Opera Garnier. https://www.cafedelapaix.fr/fr/ Although their website seems to have gone dark with the pandemic, here is a Wikipedia article explaining the cafe’s history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Café_de_la_Paix
JOY and AWE: Not in the same department store or the same city for that matter: A flashmob performance in Berlin. The happiness I see on the performers and the fortunate surprised onlookers, some of whom can’t help themselves and join in with the performers brings me JOY! The AWE I feel supports the coordinator and the performers who actually pull these off! And, yes, this one especially shows the young..and older enjoying themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSEdQGGjB8Y