Nowadays it’s easy to walk right past the Samaritaine without even noticing her. At eye level there is not much to see. But look up, and you’ll discover a beautiful mixture of art deco and art nouveau shining in the sunlight.
The Samaritaine, once the biggest department store in Paris, has been sitting quietly empty since 2005. Built in 1870, it is now owned by LVMH, and destined to be transformed into a luxury hotel. However the plans have ben held up for some time now, amidst arguments and court cases over the protection and development of the building. In the meantime, if you’re walking past, ignore the rusty shutters and derelict looking ground floor, and look upwards. You might be surprised by what you see.
- La Samaritaine, 19 rue de la Monnaie, 75001 Paris. metro: Pont Neuf