My very first "real" job was styliste- fashion consultant- at Le Bon Marché. As a matter of fact I was the left bank department store's very first fashion consultant. And the store needed all the fashion help it could get! However, and to put it mildly, I met some resistance from some most of the buyers who, very set in their ways and resenting any advice from a 20-something newcomer, would kindly and very visibly deposit my trend reports in their wastebaskets upon receiving them. Very destabilizing for a young designer just fresh out of fashion design school, eager to help and naively convinced of her usefulness... an education in one "easy" lesson. 
With the help of the younger buyers, the head of buying and my stubborn ego, things got better as time went by. I can't say I single handedly revolutionized the store's image. Not even close of course. That came much later when the store was bought by LVMH and its new CEO Philippe de Beauvoir, a colleague of mine from my later days in Le Printemps Group, entirely transformed the image, branding and interior architecture of the store. 
These images, from the 40's and some 70 years later, say it all wouldn't you say?

Among the most spectacular changes, Andrée Putman's stunning escalators are a must-see when in Paris.
The store is now much more high end than in my time and it attracts a very select clientele from all over Paris and especially the 6th and 7th arrondissements around it with its trendy fashions and luxurious accessories, large home department, a fun haberdashery floor (yes, in 2011!) and a wonderful book store.

My very favorite part of the store has to be La Grande Epicerie Paris, a large upscale market, something like a huge version of Grand Central Market at Grand Central Station in New York City.

Everything you can dream of is on offer including great fruit and vegetables, a million kinds of loose teas presented in tall gray canisters, mouth watering pastries and delicious ready made dishes from the traiteur counter.

On the top floor over La Grande Epicerie, a simple but refined lunch inside or on the terrasse at the Delicabar designed by architect Claudio Colucci, a quiet relaxing outdoor spot, will be just the thing after a harried shopping day.
images septentrion, le bon marche, trip advisor, juste a cote, the paris traveler,collucci architecture

Maybe this time around, Le Bon Marché info will not go directly into the "recycle bin"...

au revoir.


  1. It's funny how the "real world" will shock your college education right out of you! LOL! My degrees are in Political Science and Economics...utterly useless!
    I worked as a makeup artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics at the Nordstrom store in Oakbrook, IL. That is the closest we have to Le Bon Marche, but it is not even remotely as wonderful!
    Oh well! A new day! Let's go change the world, my friend!


  2. Aah happy days, we were fortunate to live on Rue Jacob a few years ago and I used to happily trundle round La Grande Epicerie with my wheely bag, I think La Grande Epicerie is one of the nicest grocery stores in the world.

  3. I've always wanted a peek inside and voila, there is was today on your blog. Merci beaucoup. What a store!

    I hadn't thought of trend reports in years. Brought back memories of my career in fashion merchandising. I smiled when you mentioned advice from the younger set. How true.

  4. Such a great tour...fun remembering those first jobs!!

  5. Great pictures, I didn't realize AndreePutman did those escalators, I'll make a point to visit here next time I go..Thanks ;)Maryanne

  6. Love all the history, I'm sure you were part of the changes Jeanne-Aelia. Le Bon Marche is so much calmer than the craziness of La Pintemps and Galaries Lafayette. La Grand Epicerie is one of my favorite stops.
    à bientôt,

  7. This is a must do destination. Love to see the history as well.