One of the great landmarks of central Paris, abandoned for the past three years, is to be converted into a spectacular, river-front hotel! The majestic La Samaritaine department store, which was suddenly closed down as a “fire-hazard” in 2005, will never re-open as it was. According to plans presented to staff unions, the store’s beautiful Art Nouveau building on the right bank of the Seine, opposite the Ile de la Cité, will be re-built as a top-class hotel and luxury offices. La Samaritaine‘s second building, on the Rue de Rivoli, will be converted to a shopping centre for luxury goods and high end apartments.
On record as a Paris historic monument, this was once the place to buy concrete-mixers, gold watches and lawn-mowers… It was one of the city’s biggest bookshops and an institution to Parisians for more than a century. Its slogan was: “You can find anything at La Samaritaine“. After years of being in the red, the store was bought in 2001 by the luxury-goods giant Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) who already owns Le Bon Marché. When it opens in 2013, this will be the only large riverside hotel in central Paris. Who could think of a more glamorous spot to host the next Vuitton fashion shows?