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Galeries Lafayette is a divine department store that promotes itself on being the place to go for the latest fashion styles and designer collections in clothing, accessories, furnishings, footwear, and perhaps even gourmet food. The basement floor is SOLELY footwear with some gourmet stands at the perimeter (hello Pierre Hermé) and I actually held Jimmy Choo shoes in hand. (Wow, 500 Euros in my clutches!!)  But the service was pathetic (I was out of the JChoo section by then). And of course, NO BOOT I LIKED fitted around my fat legs. Every femme I’ve seen wearing boots have narrow feet and long legs. I am still searching for boots for my North American legs…

A window scene at Galeries Lafayette. Rock'n'Mode here means girls getting ready at the hair salon. LIghts are flashing while the gussied-up dolls kick their legs. Did I mention the annoying music?!

The multi-story building is especially candy for the eyes at Christmas when its name in lights brightens up the night skies and the store windows display cute Christmas themes to entice the children. (Special platforms are built for the kiddos to get close to the window and watch the displays in action.) At this time back in 2004, I recall standing outside the store window, pregnant, watching little teddy bears dance by a children’s train set that was zipping around all the other ‘peluches‘ that were watching and dancing to the Christmas music. It was so *magical.* Well, this year’s theme was “Rock’n’Mode” (‘mode’= fashion) and 7 years later, I feel old and disappointed! Girl dolls, paired with bad ‘rock’ music blaring from speakers, were moving about in different scenarios. My kids were entertained but not fascinated. There was no magic.

Centrepiece Christmas tree in the middle of the store. I love the grandiose stylings of the balconies leading to the dome. Am I in a department store or an opera house?!

Inside the block-long edifice, one gets blown away by the ‘Belle Epoque’ architecture, characterized by the opulent balconies that lead the eyes to the stunning stained-glass dome in the middle of the building. And when you get to the rooftop, you have a great view of Paris. You can sit on a comfy chair on fake grass and enjoy the view and lovely breeze.  You can also have a nice view in the warm, expensive cafeteria on the 6th  floor (7th in North America).

What a lovely (free) view of Paris from the roof top terrace of Galeries Lafayette. There's Gustav's Tower, the Grand Palais (glass roof with the flag), and near the forefront, l'eglise de la Madeleine.

Galeries Lafayette is behind l'Opera Garnier (Opera House). This is a nice view of the back of the Opera House, which is taller than all the Haussman buildings around it. Haussman was not pleased...

There are also free fashion shows offered every Friday afternoon. You have to make reservations and they are meant for those wealthy shoppers visiting Paris. I went with some wives from a group I joined through Chris’ work. But I freaked when I saw everyone holding reservation papers while I had nothing. Luckily, GL does keep track of phone reservations so we got in and it’s a small venue, seating about 100 guests. And like on tv, guests are waving their programmes like fans because it’s hot in there (the spotlights)!! But unlike FashionTV, it ain’t haute couture stuff but everyday wear like Ralph Lauren and Burberry. So it’s just like any other department store fashion show really, but high end. It was on time, done in 22 minutes, and it was interesting!

The small stage set-up for the fashion show. Photography was forbidden during the show. I was front row by the runway because my persistent group was good at annoying the ones in charge of seating.

BTW, wedge boots are in and the ‘Esprit College’ look was defined by tall models donning pleated, flared mini skirts with thigh-high socks and knee socks overtop.

Okay, now I feel really OLD!!!

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