Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Moët-Hennessy Louis-Vuitton has unveiled plans to convert the La Samaritaine department store in Paris into a luxury hotel, to open in 2016. The landmark Art Nouveau listed building complex overlooking the Seine at Pont Neuf has been lying dormant since it was closed for safety reasons in 2005.
Moët-Hennessy Louis-Vuitton is also planning to convert Samaritaine’s second building on the Rue de Rivoli into resident apartments and a shopping complex for luxury goods.
As the conversion plans await approval by Paris’ town hall, France’s CFE-CGC trade union, whose members had hopes of seeing La Samaritaine restored to its former glory as a department store, expressed despair that such a store is not included in the plans proposed by Moët-Hennessy Louis-Vuitton. After much political grappling, the mixed-use project now includes a department store, the first Cheval Blanc hotel in Paris (designed by architect Edouard François) as well as LVMH’s first DFS duty-free emporium in Europe, a full-sized Louis Vuitton retail store, office space, 96 residential apartments, a day care for children and a restaurant.
Photo: the spectacular Art Nouveau staircase, not seen since the store closing in 2005.