One of my favorite spots on our family trip to Paris was Galeries Lafayette. This Paris institution is a must-do for any self-respecting foodie visiting the City of Lights, and has so much to offer the whole family!
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
I first heard about Galeries Lafayette because it is supposed to have one of the best rooftop views in Paris – and I am of the opinion that the best view of Paris needs to have the Eiffel Tower in it, so the best view is not from the Eiffel Tower itself.
What I didn’t expect to find when I started digging into the Galleries Lafayette website was a foodie mecca.
La Maison de la Truffe.
L’Eclair de Génie.
And that was just half of the offerings on one floor. Of one building.
Quickly, what started as a breakfast to check out the view turned into an all-day outing, filled with unique art installations, amazing food offerings, and – Ella’s favorite – a macaron baking class in the heart of Paris, led by a French pastry chef!
What is Galeries Lafayette?
Galeries Lafayette is a upscale French department store that is now worldwide. The flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement in Paris, and across the street is Galeries Lafayette Gourmet, which houses all of the amazing food brands mentioned above.
The main store is a feat of art nouveau architecture, but what I love about this impeccably preserved building is not just how gorgeous the architecture is, but how playful Galeries Lafayette has been with modernizing the space and allowing guests to interact with the building.
The main store has a weekly fashion show that is apparently amazing (this is not your local mall’s fashion show.. this is high end brands presented in a high-caliber show and tickets often sell out) and the 6th floor features a Paris souvenir shop complete with in-house watercolor artist!
But before anyone says that they aren’t looking to shop while in Paris, let me assure you – Galeries Lafayette is so much more than shopping. There is so much on offer at Galeries Lafayette that even after being there for an entire day, we were only able to cover a fraction of what was available.
(However, if you are interested in shopping, you will be spoilt for choice!)
Galeries Lafayette Food Hall Paris
Galeries Lafayette Gourmet was the highlight of our visit for me.
The basement of the building is basically an upscale grocery store with everything your French foodie dreams are made of. Fresh fish counters, an unbelievable assortment of French cheeses, meat, produce, and row upon row of gourmet delights.
On the main floor is where you will find all of the coveted food stalls that I mentioned above (plus more).
I bought spices from Les Route des Indes, truffles from La Maison de la Truffe, macarons and gourmet pastries from Pierre Herme, chocolates from Alain DuCasse and Jean-Paul Hevin, candies from Boissier, eclairs from L’Eclair de Génie, praline brioche… and I would have kept going if Ella hadn’t dragged me away.
On the higher up floors you will find an amazing collection of French wines and plenty of gorgeous homewares.
There are several restaurants spotted throughout GLG, but Ella had no doubts in her mind where she wanted to eat lunch: La Maison de la Truffe.
La Maison de la Truffe
If you are a fan of truffles, La Maison de la Truffe is a must-do in Paris. It was one of my top dining experiences in Paris.
No matter what your budget, you can treat yourself to a meal (or a snack) of “the diamond of the kitchen.”
I’ve shared a full review of La Maison de la Truffe here – but the highlights were definitely the Gnocchi with Parmesan topped with truffled white ham and Black Melanosporum Truffle, and the Chocolate Soufflé with a molten, truffled heart centre.
If you’re just looking for a snack, opt for the “large mixt platter” which was basically a charcuterie board with truffled cold meat and truffled cheeses, along with a light salad.
We all walked away from this meal with giant smiles on our faces, but not before hitting up their retail portion where Ella was able to purchase some truffles to bring home.
Seating is limited, so try to plan your visit at off-peak dining times and plan to be flexible.
Galeries Lafayette Art Installations
There were so many wonderful artistic experiences available during our visit to Galeries Lafayette – from showcases to interactive experiences.
Galerie des Galeries is a cultural space at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann with the goal to introduce visitors to the emerging French and international talents of both today and of tomorrow. It hosts four exhibitions a year, highlighting the cross-over between fashion, fine art and design.
Glasswalk is a 9-meter (30 feet) long walkway found on the third floor of the main store. It is 16 meters (53 feet) up in the air and provides the unique opportunity to be suspended between the luxury shops below and the stunning art deco dome above.
While it is the ultimate Instagram experience, I don’t think pictures can really do it justice.
I witnessed many people walk onto the Glasswalk, expecting to just get their picture and walk off, only to be mesmerized by how absolutely beautiful the dome was once they found themselves right in the middle of it.
Below the Glasswalk was a unique installation, the Fun Area, which is sadly a temporary exhibit. (I know it will just be replaced with something else just as amazing, but I wish every visitor could experience this.)
The concept of the Fun Area is very similar to the Glasswalk, however the set-up is similar to a trampoline so you feel like you are floating (or moon walking) in between the floor and the dome. It was very surreal and surprisingly serene.
Galeries Lafayette Rooftop
Unfortunately, the 7th floor Galeries Lafayette rooftop was closed for renovations during our visit, but it is on our list as a must-do for our next Paris family vacation!
As with the art exhibitions, the rooftop terrace is free to visit and boasts one of the best panoramic views of Paris. Just below on the 6th floor is a cafe which also affords the same views.
As for the shopping options, Galeries Lafayette features everything from a dedicated Disney store to haute couture fashions. Ella spent almost an hour looking at all of the earring options available at the different jewelry booths… and I spent probably just as long in the food hall at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet.
I was surprised at how much we enjoyed our day at Galeries Lafayette – we enjoyed it so much, we even returned a second evening to indulge in THREE desserts and go on the GlassWalk again. I highly recommend scheduling at least a morning or afternoon to explore all it has to offer.