After a five-year restoration, La Samaritaine Pont Neuf reopens, beautifully transformed while maintaining its Art Nouveau and Art Déco spirit. This story of this mythic department store began in 1870 when founders Ernest Cognacq and his wife, Marie-Louise Jaÿ, owned a small stall at the corner of rue de la Monnaie and rue du Pont-Neuf. Gradually, they extended into adjoining shops, and by In 1910, the Art Nouveau building conceived by by Frantz Jourdain was inaugurated, followed 18 years later by an Art Déco building designed by Henri Sauvage. With such an avant-garde vision, the couple succeeded in making La Samaritaine among the most desirable retail destinations in Paris.
In 2001, LVMH acquired 55% of the company, however for safety reasons, La Samaritaine was required to close four years later. By 2015, the restoration had begun. Normally, it would have reopened last spring; but in the midst of the pandemic, this momentous occasion was delayed until this week.
Now open and as stunning as ever, the project shows off the work of Pritzker Prize japanese studio Sanaa, who completely renovated the original buildings; created patios to bring in skylights; and imagined a new structure whose undulating glass façade weaves a seamless dialogue between past and present as a subtle game of reflection. Totalling 20,000 square metres, the entire space extends beyond a department store with food spaces to include a luxury Cheval Blanc hotel, offices, social housing and even a nursery. Jean Jaques Guiony, General Director of La Samaritaine said: “The diversity of use is also the will to make this area lively again and to let Parisians enjoy this space at all hours of the day”.
Meanwhile, the shopping flors of this emblematic building — among the oldest of its kind in the French capital — have been designed to engage people with brands that represent the latest in fashion, as well as experiences meant to engage everyone passing through. Upwards of 600 brands (fashion, jewelry, watches) are presented over the seven floors. What’s more, five beauty parlours makes this among the largest beauty destinations in Europe. There are 12 different restaurants, each expressing variations on French Art de Vivre, and all located under the iconic Art Nouveau glass roof in front of the famous peacock fresco. Lastly, an area of 1,000 square meters named Voyage will be open from 10 am to 2 am as an ever-changing concept, where fine cuisine, mixology, the arts, poetry and music intersect as a dynamic space without compare.