Parisian department stores have never held great allure to me with one notable exception, the food court at Galerie Lafayette, it commands a visit to the store for that alone. For the tourist, unless you have a specific desire the leading departments stores are expensive, crowded and difficult to navigate. I prefer the small shops.
But there is one exception, BHV. BHV is a shopping mecca. An emporium that sells just about everything you can imagine. Add in some decent sushi in a quiet food court on the 5th floor and you have a great shopping experience. Imagine Macy’s, Home Depot and Crate and Barrel in one store.
BHV stands for ‘bazaar hotel de ville’ and has been in business for over 150 years. The most interesting section of BHV is the hardware store in the basement level. It is a veritable toy store of the odd featuring a broad assortment of gear from strange ornate locks and keys to precision drills and cutting tools. You can find everything from nails to BBQ’s all with a peculiar European twist.
Up the elevator are more traditional areas, women’s fashion, house wares, kitchen goods, lighting of all kinds, art and posters on and on.
It is overheated during winter and after a while this gets to me. That and hunger. What BHV also has is an escape from the crowds on the 5th floor. I know that Sushi Store is a chain but it was great. Refreshed by a bowls of miso, avocado and unagi rolls and several cups of green tea, we were ready to shop again and did.