Le Grand Magasins – BHV, Rivoli

(This is the first in the series of posts about the big department stores in Paris)

The start of the shopping season seems like the perfect day to start a series on shopping.
I didn’t do any shopping this weekend or today since I’m on a shopping ban, so I’ll do the next best thing; write about shopping.

BHV stands for Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville and it’s one of Paris’ oldest stores – second oldest, according to some.

Hotel de Ville
It stands next to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) on Rue Rivoli in the 4th arrondissement.
I imagine it started out as a small market next to city hall, and later when it opened in 1856 as a big department store, the name stuck.
Either way, BHV is awesome, it has eight floors of general department store fare including an impressive DIY/hardware store in the basement and café on the 4th (or 5th?) floor with beautiful views of Paris.

Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville
There’s a separate men’s shop that is fully stocked with all the favourite brands. there’s also a pet store and travel agency.
The only strange thing about BHV is its lack of a shoe department!
It has an extensive women’s department with clothes, handbags, accessories and everything else you could think of except shoes.
Now, BHV isn’t high fashion, don’t go there looking for those Maison Martin Margiela boots or that Isabel Marant top. Here, you’ll find quality affordable French brands plus favourites like Longchamp.
The home, appliance and kitchenware section is most impressive, they stock brands like Staub, Le Creuset, Bodum, Alessi etc and brands you’d only find in Europe.
The groceries section carries Kusmi tea, fancy coffee, sweets and Fauchon products.
BHV was a quick walk from where we stayed, in historic Paris, and there was a huge six day sale that seemed to go on forever. This was a very tempting situation for me; sometimes I’d go in several times in a day, just to browse because it was so close and convenient and the sales were amazing; up to 60% off.
I got some cashmere sweaters from the Galeries Lafayette house brand, an epilator, sweets and gifts for friends and family.
BHV is a little like Sears, except fancier and very French.

52 Rue de Rivoli
75004 Paris France

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