The world of sport at Samaritaine, past and present

April 19, 2024

This season, Samaritaine hosts a never-before-seen exhibition of iconic memorabilia from the world of sports. It’s a look back at a part of the store’s history, just in time for this summer’s special event.

Samaritaine has a longstanding relationship with sports and was quick to offer athletic facilities for its employees. The USS (Union Sportive Samaritaine), initiated by Marie-Louise Jaÿ in 1895, gave employees the chance to participate in a physical activity and care for their bodies and their minds.

The Stade d’Eaubonne, reserved especially for Samaritaine employees, was the ideal venue for outdoor sports enthusiasts. There, they had free rein: tennis, basketball, football, pole vaulting, running, long jumping, cycling and even fishing were all encouraged. Meanwhile, the attic and roof of the Célestins warehouse along the waterfront were converted into fencing and body-building facilities and used for ball games.

Multi-disciplinary areas

Men and women alike flocked here to train in gymnastics and wrestling, and even to take part in tug-of-war and fencing—two disciplines in which the Samaritans excelled!

Just around the corner from Samaritaine, swimming facilities were set up for employees on barges in the Seine, until the 1924 flood swept them away. And at the Cipale Velodrome in Vincennes, employees attended competitions and had the chance to win the “Prix Cognacq”!

Such initiatives reflect the Cognacq-Jaÿ family’s commitment to fostering employees’ personal development as much as that of the store itself!

Come discover archival images of the store’s sports facilities on display on the ground floor on Pont-Neuf side.