Awakening To La Samaritaine’s Future

Bonjour mes amis,

One of the best panoramic views of Paris can be seen from the top terrace of the department store La Samaritaine, located a stone throw away from the oldest bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf.

However, I’d like to save all of you who have La Samaritaine on your hit list of ‘Paris Sights’ the trip, because the department store is now well and truly boarded up and closed until, according to my french friends, 2011!

I was extremely lucky to be one of the last to enjoy the top terrace view  in April 2005  and sip one final coffee from above it all. Just take a look at the view! What do you think?

Would you enjoy a cup of coffee with me up here?

Seeing La Samaritaine closed like this still makes one weep-  as the top floor alone  dishes out a sight as magestic as the  Eiffel Tower without super grand heights! Besides, the store is among Paris’ list of Grand Magasins without the hefty prices of say Galerie Lafayette which we do so adore, so there is an advantage in shopping here no doubt.

No, it doesn’t have the same array of choice for some things as Lafayette but what it lacks in huge choice and trendy fashionista styles, it makes up for in gorgeous Art Nouveau/Deco wrought iron and lacework and it is therefore a very beautiful building in its own right. Glide down its beautiful wrought iron  staircase maze yourself and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So, why the closure? Most are saying it’s for “security reasons” and they are probably right. La Samaritaine was established in 1870 and could well pose some structural problems or perhaps fire hazards given it’s age.

French trade unions are divided on the issue of employment benefits to all those who worked there and  especially in concern to retaining employee wages while the closure continues, but the real question on everyone’s lips in Paris is,” what’s going to become of La Samaritaine when it DOES open?”

Now, there lies the quandry. Will it continue being a department store (revamped of course)  or a mall with a food hall or perhaps it’s going to become the site of luxury apartments or even social housing and department store on one site?

Only the owners, the LVMH Group know (thats the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton group) and I’m told that the planning and renovation is well under cover.

So, for the moment travellers, sit back on the Left Side and from across the Seine at night, I challenge you to not enjoy the magical lights of La Samaritaine’s exterior as it’s still lit up as usual.

I heard from a friend that at Christmas time it was lit up in pink, so that’s a lovely touch to seal any wound!

Let’s all be patient because one things for certain, it IS Paris afterall and something spectacular will eventuate- hopefully with the full acknowledgement of past employees!

We shall all have to see won’t we?

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

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