- LVMH on Monday unveiled its $835 million refurb of Paris department store La Samaritaine.
- The luxury conglomerate’s elaborate refurb took seven years.
- The building also houses a luxury hotel, a beauty salon, a spa, and 12 restaurants.
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It’s been shut for 16 years after it was deemed unsafe and closed in 2005.
LVMH — run by one of the world’s richest men, Bernard Arnault — spent €750 million ($895 million) refurbishing the space, transforming it into a luxury shopping destination.
This week, it opened its doors to the public after being painstakingly restored.
French President Emmanuel Macron joined LVMH CEO Arnault to open the new store on Monday.
The retail portion of the building is around 20,000 square feet.
There’s also 15,000 square feet of office space, 96 social housing units, and a hotel.
The hotel, called Cheval Blanc Paris, won’t open until September 7.
According to Bloomberg, prices for a room start at €1,150 ($1,400) per night.
There are areas devoted to men’s and women’s fashion, beauty, and accessories.
There are more than 600 different brands in the store – from legacy designers to newer brands, which are spread across seven levels.
The glass roof is one of its most iconic features.
According to LVMH, this was rebuilt to match the original design from 1905.
Just below the roof, on the top floor of the building, is one of its bar-restaurants, Voyage.
According to Vogue Business, this bar stays open long after the store closes at 8 p.m..
There are a dozen restaurants in the building.
There’s a spa and beauty salon, too.
“We strive to move away from the purely transactional side,” Benjamin Vuchot, chairman and CEO of DFS Group, which operates the building for LVMH, told Vogue Business.
“In a world where shopping is undergoing tremendous change, we have to find different solutions. Hence the food & beverage, the spa, the hair salon,” he said.
But luxury shopping is still at the heart of the space, and it’s a place for LVMH to display and sell all the brands that it owns.
LVMH owns 75 brands.
These include Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, and Dom Pérignon champagne to name a few.
The focus is all on shopping in-store – the store’s website is mainly to book beauty or hair appointments.
The department store was initially meant to reopen in 2020, but this was delayed because of the pandemic.
With international travel still mostly at a standstill, it could be a while before tourists flock to the building — and tourist spending is vital to the luxury industry.
“We expect it will take one or two years for tourists to really return,” the regional president at DFS Group, Eleonore De Boysson, said at a press conference this week, which was reported by Bloomberg.
For now, “we want Parisians to reclaim La Samaritaine,” she said.