Paris Tips: Summertime Window-Shopping at Printemps
By Theadora Brack
It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that Bling! So let’s hoof it to Printemps Haussmann in Paris for a little label-gazing!
But first, let’s look to Oscar Wilde for a little inspiration. After all, our favorite writer and clotheshorse was also the editor of The Woman’s World magazine way back in the original New Romantic 1880s.
Wearing a puffy shirt and breeches (he dismissed trousers as “boring tubes”), along with a smoking jacket and one green carnation, he quipped, “It is only the shallow people who do not judge by appearances.” Touché, Monsieur Wilde!
And speaking of keeping up appearances, les Musées de Paris aren’t the only ones in the city getting “a little work done” these days. Following suit, even Printemps has been in the final phase of an extreme makeover.
Now sporting a chic-sleek modern look that nevertheless manages to pay homage to her expansive Belle Epoché days, the grand magasin’s new three-level atrium is worth a peek. In step with other department stores and shops worldwide, Printemps wears her starkness well!
On the case is the Canadian architectural firm Yabu Pushelberg. (Toronto duo George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg were also responsible for New York’s Tiffany & Co., Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman’s recent re-do’s.) No holds were barred, as beaucoup euros have been poured into the historic monument’s extensive interior and exterior revamping.
Inside you’ll also be dazzled by the recently installed super-cool (and eco-friendly) LED lighting system that illuminates and opens up the heart of the store: the central atrium. Resembling an over-sized Lucite jewelry box, this pleasing eye candy is decked out in slick marble, sleek bands of iced chrome, and live trees that sprout multi-colored handbags. Ma joie!
Jutting out between the bustling, zigzagging escalators are towering cubbyholes (three stories high) stuffed with shiny fab accessories and fragrances, just enough out of reach to tantalize. Oh, la la. Heads-up! Featured collections rotate.
Tips: Looking for discounts? Shop during the two annual Big Sale periods in either January or June. This year’s summer sales launch on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Also, the grand magasins often coordinate free art exhibits. Recently the Cracking Art Group’s Bunnies and Mr. Brainwash ‘s King Kong rocked at Printemps, while Dior held court at Bon Marché.
Don’t skip the loo
While browsing, check out “the first luxury public toilets” by Point WC (as touted on their website). One euro buys you private seating in a water closet lit by rose-colored lights, and stocked with fluorescent toilet tissues in pinks, greens, and blues.
You can’t miss the €1800 price tag for the commode, but happily you don’t have to buy it to experience it! Cosmetics for touch-ups, souvenir rolls of toilet tissue, and even beverages are available at the Point WC welcome desk. Yes, life is good–and with flattering lighting to boot!
Need a break?
Feeling all peckish? I’ve got the spot! Located in between Gare Saint-Lazare and Printemps Homme, Café Triadou has been open since 1935. So what’s on the menu? I recommend going with the baguette jambon beurre Gruyère! It’s hearty and oh so satisfying without costing an arm and a leg! Café Triadou’s terrace is a prime people-watching spot. So come with a journal or sketchbook in hand. In the words of dapper Wilde, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
Happy Hunting! Et Bon Appétit!