Explore history, culture, and architecture via this tour offered by La Samaritaine staff. Take a deep dive into the history of the store and its surroundings.
The company was initially owned by Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jaÿ who hired architect Frantz Jourdain to expand their original store. It started as a small apparel shop and expanded to what became a series of department store buildings with a total of 90 different departments. It was completed in 1928—nine stores within four buildings--designed to entice working class shoppers to climb the stairs of a multi-story building by using grand and decorative elements.
The building has been listed since 1990 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture and is a stunning example of the evolution of architecture in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Its magnificent restoration allows us to imagine the experience of a shopper in the 1930s. It was clearly the place to shop in Paris at the time!