Friday, June 23, 2006

La Samaritaine department store

Located on the right bank end of Le Pont Neuf, La Samaritaine used to be a famous department store in Paris. It was created in 1869 by Ernest Cognacq and his wife, Marie-Louise Jay and was only, at that time, "a little shop around the corner". It owes its name to a hydraulic pump installed near the Pont Neuf, which operated from 1609 to 1813. Last June (2005) it was shut because of serious securitysafety problems and it will not reopen before... 2011. In the meantime, you can still have dinner at the Kong, located on the last floor of the building- in a safe environment! Very trendy and very good.


  1. Another beautiful night shot! Well done!

    I didn't know that store was named after a pump!

    I think it's a little sad they have to close shop for so long. Hopefully they won't convert the building into luxury condos.

  2. I love that store and was very sad to hear that it had to close. What kind of "security" problems would close a store for five years though? I'm guessing it's more about safety or building structural problems than "security". It's an old building, maybe the foundation isn't safe or something.

  3. Same problem in Atlanta, a beautiful hotel and historic monument called the Castlegate recently demolished for a 'new urbanist' shopping center with lofts-featuring a Wal-Mart.

  4. Too bad it closed down! I shopped there last year and I knew that it had been closed down, but I didn't know why.
    What kind of security problems did they have? Just wondering. Thanks for the photo :)

  5. Once again, something that makes me want to visit Paris.

    I'm very pumped up tonight, guys. Just got my nose pierced by a buddy of my hubby's. He's apprentencing (sp?) to do it professionally, so he's doing the piercings for free while he's learning. He did a good job, he was very careful with the ...uh...clampy thingy, and this one hurt way less then my other 4 piercings and 7 tattoos! Wooo! Also pumped cause I went to the Circus Flora last night, which is an old school circus that has been based in St. Louis for 18 years. ( They do their thing old school European style. It was so awesome. I'd love to run off and join them, and not just because I'm in love with Nino the clown!

    Don't miss me too much, guys. I'm going out of town for the weekend so you wont be getting any of my loverly and witty comments!

  6. I believe the "security" issues Eric refers to are really "safety" in English. I don't believe it was asbestos but structural.

    Hopefully when they reopen it though, they'll think of the air conditioning as it can be a very hot place to shop during the summer months.

    Can anyone say where the name "Samaritaine" comes from? Is it related to the "good samritain"?

  7. Eric...I just saw the Plusmo thingy on your list of links. I'm going to have to try this. How do you find these things? It would be so cool to have your photos on my phone! Of course, I might not get any work done...

  8. Soosha: be patient with that nose piercing; I've seen people do it at work and it does take a few weeks to heal properly.

  9. Uh, OK, Haxo, but where is the pump? Is it in the building itself?

  10. brian c.b. - I have heard also from my french teacher that the Samaritaine is owned by an insurance company or other conglomerate who shut down the building so they can change it into a luxury hotel. She says that it's reported that nothing will happen there until all the legal issues are cleared up which is why it will be a long time before the building reopens :(

  11. What a fabulous picture. The Samaritaine is a striking building, both inside and out.
    And the Sex and the City obsessive in me wants to have lunch at Kong!

    *Just wondering, is anyone else having photo upload-issues? I use blogger and it's not co-operating with me!

  12. (l'embrouillamini: It hapens quite often, actually. You might want to consider downloading their Picassa software and uploading with that. It helps a lot when Blogger is in a mood.)

  13. Wow...not only do I learn stuff reading your posts, but the comments are alos informative. =) Great night shot!

  14. what a beautiful shop!

    last summer i trekked along the seine just to go to la samaritaine, only to find it had been shut down. i wish i bought a postcard that showed how beautiful the interior was.

    eric, do you have an inside shot of la samaritaine?

  15. Cool and good to know, Haxo, thanks.

    (The poem is a little hard to translate guys, sorry)

  16. > Emmanuelle. Merchi ;)

    > Tomate. Yep, a pump called "Le bon Samaritain"

    > Yes, you are right I mixed the word security and safety because in French its the same.

    > Mandie. Well, things change...

    > Single. Apparently there is a high fire risk.

    > Soosha. "he's doing the piercings for free while he's learning". Congratulations, it's very daring! I would never do that!! Have a very nive time off, I will miss you and your comments!

    > Brian. Wahoo! That is very interesting. Thank you. As a matter of fact I already published a view from the rooftop last year, while it was still opened. See here

    > Haxo. And that is also very interesting. Thanks. By the way I share your opinion onf the Musée Carnavalet. Its a must see.

    > Michael. Yes, Safety not security... And yes it comes come la Fontaine du Bon Samaritain.

    > Michael. About Plusmo, it's one of the founders of the copany that emailed me to let me know of this new service (I suppose they target all photo blogs)... I have tried to subscribe in France but it does not work (at least with my carrier). In the US it shoud work. If someone tried and was successful, please let me know.

    > Cathy. It is owned by LVHM (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy). They recently announced their plan; they will reopen in 2011 butnone knows what they will do exactly in it.

    > Olivia. I did not know that (no wonder, I never watched Sex in the City.) But thanks, that is also interesting.

    > Embrouillamini. Kong is very god but I would recommend having dinner there. And yes, sometimes Blogger sucks!

    > Natalie. Cool eh?!

    > Barista. No, I don't, only a view from the rooftop (see above). Sorry! And now it's really too late...

    > Haxo. And now poetry! ;) Keep coming here...

  17. Hi Eric, sorry my comment comes late. 2 precisions if you don't mind :
    - Kong is not on top of the main building, which happens to be the one on your picture. The restaurant there used to be Le "Touparis". Kong stand on top of another one, nearby, where you find Kenzo, and also a famous japanese restaurant.
    - Beyond safety problems the main reason was that LVMH considered that it was not making enough profit with La Samaritaine. Most departments stores have the same problem. The Samaritaine which is to re-open in 2011 will be completely different to the presentation they have made lately ( It should become a space dedicated to home and furnishing.

  18. Anyone who has dined at Kong for lunch ... do you recommend making a reservation?

  19. > l'embrouillamini : I would indeed recommend you to do so.

  20. Are there views from Kong? What can replace Samaritaine for food + views?