One of my all-time favourite things to do in any given city is to search for some of the best rooftop views the place has to offer. After all, what better way to get an idea of the layout of a city than from above? If you’re like me, and you’re searching for a good place to glean a bird’s eye perspective in Paris (with a view onto the Eiffel Tower, bien sûr!), then you need look no further than the Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace.
Located on Boulevard Haussmann, not far from the Paris Opera house, you’ll find the Galeries Lafayette Flagship Store. This department store is one of Paris’ ‘Grands Magasins’ and sits right beside the equally large store of ‘Printemps‘. Galeries Lafayette itself is set across a floor space of approximately 70,000m² and comprises of plenty of fashion, beauty and homeware pieces, as well as other luxury and upmarket goods.
The great department store was founded in 1895 by Théophile Bader and his cousin, who both hailed from the Alsace. What was once opened as a store purely selling fashion, the store soon bloomed into a thriving business and more floor space was purchased (the original haberdashery store was only around 70m²).
With a new expansion came a new style for the shop floor, and the idea of Galeries Lafayette as a ‘luxury bazaar’ was born. An art-nouveau glass dome was installed and similarly, lavish art-nouveau fittings were added to the entirety of the floor space.
Much of this early 1900s decor remains to this day and the store is well worth a wander around, if only for the briefest of moments. Each year around Christmastime, a giant Christmas tree is installed in the very centre of the store and its twinkling lights easily evoke a festive mood, even if you’re not yet feeling the ‘Christmas Cheer’.
Visit the Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace
Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
Open on a daily basis, weather permitting, the 7th-floor Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace is free to visit and offers one of the best panoramic views of Paris. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the Autumn, Spring or Winter, you may even be fortunate enough to see the sunset over the rooftops of Paris and beyond (in the summer months, the terrace closes too early to enjoy the golden hour).
From here, you can see many of the major sites the city has to offer. After all, the ‘Terrasse’ offers 180-degree views over towards the Tour Eiffel, Opera and over the rooftops. Unfortunately, you can’t see the Sacré-Coeur from the Haussmann location as the view is blocked by a wall. However, the view over towards the southern side of the city more than makes up for the fact…
What you may well not know is that there are countless other Galeries Lafayette locations all around France. One of the most iconic locations (aside from the Haussmann Flagship store) can be found in La Ville Rose, AKA Toulouse. Also home to a rooftop terrace, it’s one of the best secret spots of Toulouse.