May 242010
 

The Galeries Lafayette, is one of the department stores on the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris France.  If you are visiting there, it is a few blocks from the Opera (the big Neo-Baroque Opera Garnier that is the foundation of the legend of the Phantom of the Opera).  Printemps, another large department store (or Grand Magasin, as they would say in French) is right next door.

I was going in at the end of a very long day, fortunately the store was open until 8:00 p.m., which didn’t give me enough time to fully explore but at least a moment.

The first floor is lined with small versions of the high end boutiques–Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Dior and others, as well as a niche for Longchamps.  These are mostly purses and accessories. The clothing boutiques for these and other high end brands are on the second floor.  The upper floors are similar in configuration to most U.S. department stores, except several of the brands are pretty hard to find outside of France.

The makeup area is in the center of the first floor and  crowded with people from all over the world, who walk among the maze of Armani, Guerlain, Chanel, Serge Lutens, Kenzo, Dior and even Bobbi Brown and Clinique. Unlike counters at the typical U.S. department store, each line has its own kiosk that allows them several displays each.  In the center is a featured product or brand, which changes frequently.  When I was there, it was a Nina Ricci perfume, Ricci Ricci.

The roof has an incredible glass ceiling, and the building is quite ornate and lovely.  Click for a larger view:

I wanted to focus on finding things that I cannot locate in the U.S., which was hard to do since there were so many distracting beautiful items (including the new Chanel duo eyeshadows, Lancome and so many more items).  I settled on these two items from Tom Pecheux’s Color Pure Color Night–the powder highlighter (43 euros) and the smoky grey-taupe trio (23 euros) –you can see details about this on The British Beauty Blogger. (Together with a neutral gloss, all three of these will be releasing in London and New York in limited quantities).  I literally gasped when I saw the sales associate use the eye palette on a customer-it was very polished yet dramatic.

After I already committed to buy the highlighter, the sales associate gave me a detailed demonstration of how to use it, so that I could see her apply it while watching in a mirror.  Highlighter on the upper cheek, browbone, chin and a touch of nude blush in the contour area of the cheek.  I was glowing (in a good way).  It could be just me, but I always get the feeling that the sales associates here would rather lose a sale entirely than to see their product applied wrong.  They always seem relieved when I choose the product that they recommend, rather than one that might be less right.

I only have a small travel camera, so no swatches:

These are both beautiful, and are literally the first Estee Lauder products that I have ever bought.  The Estee Lauer sales associated loaded up my bag with several generous samples. Welcome to Paris, where they understand makeup.

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