Since it's Pink Saturday time at Beverly's blog, I thought I'd jump back to our Paris trip and show a little bit of pink -- perfect for Valentine's Day!
This was the window display of Le Bon Marche, considered Paris' first major department store. It didn't begin that way, though. The store was originally founded in 1838 as a novelty shop, its shelves carrying lace, buttons, ribbons and goods that included mattresses and sheets. There were only four departments and the store itself was small.
In 1852, Aristide Boucicaut stepped in. He had originally come to Paris from the north of France to be in the fabric industry but discovered he had an aptitude for retail and for marketing. He (with the support and input of his wife, Marguerite) and added things we now associate with retail, including refunds, exchanges, marketing, and expanded merchandise selections. By 1869 the store expanded into a larger building on the Left Bank at Rue de Sevres.
I found it interesting to learn that by 1880, half of the stores employees were women and those who were unmarried could live in dormitories on an upper floor of the store. He also offered medical assistance, paid holidays, classes in the evening, and a retirement fund, among other things.
After his death in 1877, his son began to manage the company, and following his son's early death, Aristide's widow Marguerite took over, turning the business into a joint stock company with several employees as founding members. Some of my favorite vintage collectibles (probably antique by now!) are these colorful chromos, (chromolithography). These were used by Le Bon Marche and other stores to advertise certain products. Some told historical stories, others are simply lovely and beautifully done cards. (I should do a post on those someday!)
The store itself is large and imposing and quite beautiful. I was disappointed we didn't have much time to spend here (the next-time list!). I wouldn't have minded exploring the neighborhood, either! It was quite beautiful.
It's food hall is remarkable. I shared a bit about this during my Shopping in Paris post HERE. But this is a quick reminder of the candy hall...
...and the wine market.
The high-end shopping in London, as we saw HERE is not without its overpriced charms, too and I couldn't resist another peek at those winged wedges (tall wedges!) that so many of you commented on in the post.
If I had even thought of trying these on, I would be a dead (or at lease seriously injured) woman within about six feet!
Sharing with: Pink Saturday / Let's Keep in Touch
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