The famous French luxury department store is the latest in a series of high end names hoping to persuade Parisians to return to the avenue.
n recent years, amid a plethora of restaurant chains, car showrooms and cinemas, the Champs Elysées has lost its lustre and although it is still a popular tourist stop, Parisians have largely stayed away.
Now “la plus belle avenue du monde” as the French call it, is staging something of a comeback.
The resurgence has not been without complications. Some of the worst violence around the Yellow Vest demonstrations has been on the Champs Elysées and businesses on the avenue have lost millions in revenue since the start of the protests in November.
Nevertheless, Nicolas Houzé, the boss of Galeries Lafayette is optimistic and enthusiastic about Thursday's opening of what he says is a new type of store.
“We set out to create a lifestyle space as well as a store,” he explains, adding that the aim was a shop that “spoke to Parisians, whom we need to attract back to the Champs Elysées”.
He is hoping for around 10 to 15 thousand visitors each day to the shop that covers 6,500 m2 in the art deco building that used to house the Virgin Megastore.
The landmark building has been completely re designed inside by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
Galeries Lafayette follows Apple, Bulgari, and Dior who all recently moved to the iconic Avenue, where the average property price per square metre is 14,000 euros, making it the fourth most expensive strip in the world.