Parisian department store Le Bon Marche Rive Gauche is restoring itself to its former glory and providing the ultimate shopping experience for its visitors by undergoing a massive restoration to its two buildings on the Left Bank. The gorgeous retailer is being updated to include new brand boutiques, men’s department, a wine shop, a horology department and accessories spaces.
Le Bon Marche, a 345,000-square-foot space comprises two buildings connected by an elevated glass walking path, is situated on the Left Bank, snug in the middle of a strong arts and literary-friendly neighborhood. The elegant structure was originally built by architect Louis-Charles Boileau and engineer Gustav Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) that conveys a style specific to the trendy neighborhood.
Renovations started last year, headed by CEO Patrice Wagner, with the overhaul of the men’s department and creation of a new wine cellar, both of which are located in the basements of the two buildings. In the men’s department, visitors will find bespoke suits, sportswear and grooming services such as a barber shop and shoe-shining service. The space is designed to look like a real apartment, which is part of Le Bon Marche’s goal to create a unique experience for shoppers.
Meanwhile, the new wine shop and cellar, called La Nouvelle Cave, boasts more than 2,000 wines, 1,000 spirits and Champagne. La Nouvelle Cave is located in La Grande Epicerie de Paris, Le Bon Marche’s gourmet food marketplace.
Le Bon Marche will unveil its new horology and accessories department on the ground floor of the main store. The horology department includes 20 different watch brands, most with mini boutiques throughout the space. Meanwhile, the accessories section will show cutting-edge trends that will change twice every season, a tactic the department store hopes will spur repeat visits.
The last phase of the renovation, set to roll out later next year, takes place in the second building where the new face of La Grande Epicerie de Paris will be revealed. A double escalator will be installed from the ground floor to the first floor echoing the same design in the main store, along with a dome-topped restaurant.
Le Bon Marche was founded in 1852 and is considered the world’s first department store. In 1984, it was bought by powerhouse LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which decided that the retailer’s image should be revitalized to reclaim its authority as the ultimate in Parisian luxury. This was part of the reason for the renovation, which started in 2012, as its management decided that Le Bon Marche’s interior should reflect its spirit, beauty and Parisian essence.
In many department store renovations, even for luxury retailers, brands go above and beyond to keep up with the times through expensive and sometimes unnecessary digital innovation. Though these can be interesting at first, flashing lights and loud videos can sometimes contribute to excess noise, or unnecessary flashiness that could take away from products.
Furthermore, Le Bon Marche is a relatively small department store. In earlier days, it had a huge selection of pretty much anything a consumer could look for. However, its new forte is bringing in the best, albeit smaller, selection of goods that is carefully curated by buyers. Le Bon Marche’s easy approach to shopping makes it a less-cluttered, enjoyable shopping experience for the fashion elite (there are barely any tourists hanging out in there), and the new design upgrades the store to help it stay relevant, classic and very Parisian.
Le Bon Marche is located at 24, rue de Sevres in Paris.