[page_name] Paris


  • 1603

    To draw water from the River Seine to supply the nearby Louvre quarter, French King Henri IV commissions the engineer Jean Lintlaër to construct a pump house at the second arch of the Pont-Neuf bridge. Completed in 1607, the structure is decorated with a statue of “La Samaritaine”, the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well in St. John’s Gospel. Restored several times, and rebuilt in 1772, the pump house and its statue are dismantled in 1813, to be replaced by a floating public swimming pool complex.

  • 1870

    Ernest Cognacq opens a shop in Rue du Pont-Neuf, and calls it La Samaritaine. The shop’s revenues top one million francs in 1875.

  • 1872

    Ernest Cognacq marries Marie-Louise Jaÿ, previously the lead female sales assistant in the dressmaking section of the department store Le Bon Marché.

  • 1890 - 1910

    Ernest Cognacq gradually acquires property in the northern section of a block bordered by Rue de la Monnaie, Rue Baillet, Rue de l’Arbre-Sec and Rue des Prêtres-Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, and converts the existing buildings into retail space. On the southern side of the block, he commissions architect Frantz Jourdain to design and construct a building with a riveted steel frame supporting a huge glass roof, decorated in the Art Nouveau style. The northern and southern sections are unified via steel and glass facades adorned with polychrome glazed lava stone panels.

  • 1917

    In 1917, Frantz Jourdain is commissioned to build a luxury store for La Samaritaine on boulevard des Capucines. The building also houses Ernest Cognacq’s collections of eighteenth-century art, donated to the City of Paris on his death, and displayed at the Cognacq-Jaÿ Museum today.

  • 1926 - 1928

    Architect Henri Sauvage supervises the construction of the tiered Art Deco building on the banks of the Seine. Ernest Cognacq dies in 1928, before the new project is completed. In 1925, the store’s sales pass the one-billion-franc mark. These are La Samaritaine’s glory days: as well as offering the very latest trends in men and women’s fashions, drapery, interior decoration, travel goods, flowers and plants, books, musical instruments and more, the store now features pastry and confectionery counters, a renowned wine cellar, and a “regions of France” department that allows customers to taste the very best products from across the country. Parisians enjoy the grand parades and festivals that take place at the store throughout the year. Everyone knows and loves “La Samar”, as celebrated by the poet André Suarès in 1934.

  • 2001

    LVMH acquires a 55% interest in Samaritaine.

  • 2005

    Samaritaine closes for safety reasons, after the Paris Préfecture de Police finds that the building does not meet required standards.

  • 2007 - 2008

    Consultations take place with the City of Paris, with the aim of developing a new complex combining a department store, offices, social housing units, a hotel and a crèche. Replacing the previous department store with a mixed-use scheme was the only way to safeguard and enhance the site’s architectural and decorative heritage while ensuring compliance with demanding safety standards.

  • 2009

    The Japanese architectural firm Sanaa is commissioned to provide the overall design for the new Samaritaine, including a new building on Rue de Rivoli.

  • 2010

    LVMH acquires 100% of the shares in Samaritaine.

  • 2010 - 2015

    Technical studies are carried out, government permits obtained, and preliminary works for the restoration project completed.

  • 2015 - 2020

    Construction work carried out on all five project packages.

  • 2021

    The reborn Samaritaine re-opens to the public in time for its 151st anniversary.