Mapping Paris

Shopping in Paris

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New Shops
Another development which characterized the bourgeoisification of Paris was the appearance of department stores, arcades, galleries, and other shopping venues. The architects of these buildings utilized revolutions in steel and glass technology to create spaces uniquely modern, and especially appealing to the bourgeoisie, who now had the time and money to enjoy the luxury of leisure.
Perhaps the most famous of the shopping districts was the Champs-Elysées, which during the 18th and 19th centuries became famous for its restaurants, shops, and theaters.


The image to the right is an advertisement for "A Pygmalion", a department store founded in 1793. It was known as a novelties shop, which was typical of department stores at the time. Novelties shops, and hence department store, were aimed at the female bourgeois clientele and sold clothing, jewelry, and fabrics which had recently appeared on the market.

A department store on Rue Saint Denis
(Click to see a larger version)

The Gallerie Colbert.

The image to the left is a drawing by René-Jacques of the Gallerie Colbert, a department store in Paris in 1835. The people depicted, from their clothes, are probably of the grand or middle bourgeoisie. The gas light allowed shoppers to stay after dark, and the glass ceiling gave the illusion of outdoor shopping, which Parisians were more used to.

By providing upper bourgeois a safe, clean, and attractive place to shop, department stores and other modern shopping venues took advantage of the bourgeoisification of Paris.

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