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France: Paris – The dome of the Galleries Lafayette

Created by master glassworker Jacques Gruber in the “Art nouveau” or “Art déco” style, the dome ceiling of the Galleries Lafayette is a incredibly beautiful as we as being functional (it lets in lots of light) and has been attracting visitors to the store in its own right for over 100 years.

When we travel to big cities, such as Paris, going to a department store is not high on our list of places to visit. Yet, we decided to go to the Galeries Lafayette on Hausmann Boulevard on our most recent visit to this beautiful city. Our reason for visiting was not to spend a small fortune on wildly overpriced clothing or jewellery but instead to look at one of its architectural features: The dome ceiling.

The Galeries Lafayette, on Boulevard Haussmann, has three main buildings. The one we were interested in was the Lafayette Coupole, which is home to designer collections, children’s fashion, cosmetics, jewellery and accessories, books, music, electronics and the Lafayette Marriage Boutique. It also has the dome and a roof terrace restaurant and viewing deck.

What had piqued our interest in the dome at the Galerie Lafayette was a recent Facebook posting by someone we knew when we lived in Ardsley, New York. She and her family had recently visited Paris and the Galerie Lafayette and she had done a stunning painting of the dome. So, we simply had to go and check it out for ourselves.

The store is right across the Opéra National de Paris, Palais Garnier. We walked around the store, and it was not too long before we found what we had come to see. The atrium rises up eight floors to the spectacular glass roof above. It is incredibly beautiful. On each of the floors balconies, with gilded balustrades lean out. There is even a glass walkway on the 3rd floor, suspended 46-metres in the air that extends out 9-metres under the dome.

The glass dome was created by master glassworker Jacques GRUBER in the “Art nouveau” or “Art déco” style.The purpose was to give light and a certain style to the main Galeries Lafayette store, and more particularly to the fabulous gilded ironwork on the balconies fashioned by Louis Majorelle, who also designed the monumental bannister on a magnificent staircase which, unfortunately, was removed from the store in 1974.

The stained glass currently in place forms an immense flower comprised of 10 luminous sections stretching over a total of 1000m².

The glass dome of the Galeries Lafayette on Haussman Boulevard in Paris, France
The glass dome of the Galeries Lafayette

Whilst visiting the dome, you should also check out the restaurant on the 8th floor, and more specifically the rooftop terrace. The plexiglass barrier gives uninterrupted views toward the Palais Garnier, opera house and southward toward the Seine. You can also see the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Cœur from here. The views from the terrace are particulary spectacular at sunset! Also, on the roof you can see the skylight that protects the glass of the dome below.

Planning your visit to the dome of the Galeries Lafayette

Nearest Metro: Chaussée d’Antin, Opéra, or Trinité

RER: Auber (Line A) or Haussmann St-Lazare (Line E)

Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris
Hours:Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 8.30 pm and Sundays and public holidays from 11 am to 8 pm. the public on Thursday, September 1st and Tuesday, September 6th.

Best time to visit Paris

You’ll experience crowds from May to September, but encounter the most people in July (followed closely by June and August). We’d recommend visiting between October and April if your main objective is to avoid crowds. For the warmest temperatures, October and April are the best times to visit Paris sans crowds.

Other places to visit while in Paris


The banks of the River Seine through the heart of Paris are listed as UNESCO world heritage site due to the incredible architecture of buildings such as Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Grand Palais and the examples of outstanding town planning, in particular, the large squares and avenues built by Haussmann at the time of Napoleon III have influenced town planning throughout the world.


The main hall gallery - Musee D'Orsay, Paris

Housed in a train station built for the 1900 World’s Fair, the Musée d’Orsay is known throughout the world for its rich collection of Impressionist paintings including masterpieces as iconic as the Bal au Moulin de la galette from Renoir or The room at Arles de Van Gogh. Its collections include works of architecture, decorative arts and photography in addition to traditional artistic fields (painting, sculpture, graphic arts). They thus draw a broad panorama of French and European art from 1848 to 1914.


The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.


The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world’s most-visited museum, and a historic landmark in Paris, France. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. At any given point in time, approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are being exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres.


The grand staircase at the Palais Garnier, Opera National, Paris, France

The Palais Garnier, also known as Opéra Garnier, is a 1,979-seat opera house at the Place de l’Opéra in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was built for the Paris Opera from 1861 to 1875 at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III. It is also famous due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera.


Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France

The Père Lachaise cemetery takes its name from King Louis XIV’s confessor, Father François d’Aix de La Chaise. It is the most prestigious and most visited necropolis in Paris. Here you will find the graves of such famous people as Frédéric Chopin, Colette, Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, Yves Montand, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissarro and Oscar Wilde are just a few.


Château de Fontainebleau - Paris, France

The Château de Fontainebleau is located in the small town bearing the same name and lies 40 miles (65 km) south-southeast of Paris by road. It has been the residence of 34 kings and two emperors, Fontainebleau is the only château that was lived in by every French monarch for almost eight centuries. With 1500 rooms, it is one of the biggest châteaux in France, and the most furnished in Europe.

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