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The Dream Factory, Christmas at the Galeries Lafayette 2018

The festive season is kicking off at Paris’s chicest store. Here’s all you need to know.

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It’s hard to imagine Christmas in Paris without the Galeries Lafayette. Each year its glamorous window displays and gargantuan Christmas tree become queue-worthy tourist attractions in themselves, rivalling any Eiffel Tower or Sacré Coeur. Fortunately, this festive season is no different. The department store has gone all out to please families with a series of immersive installations and events themed around the fairy tale, from a specially commissioned film by Nicolas Bary to the inevitable inclusion of Harry Potter.

We suggest heading down to the labyrinthine main show at the Galerie des Galeries first. It promises a maze of doors and secret passages, accessed by a single door, in a world lifted straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen story. But now, for the shopping...

Shooting up beneath the store’s opulent dome and decorated with 3D models of imaginary characters sent in by children, this giant Christmas tree aims to transport visitors to the North Pole. Make sure to stick around, for every half hour the dome lights will be switched off to allow for an aurora borealis-like constellation of LEDs to glisten around it.

Harry Potter comes to town

Oddly enough, there’s never been an exhibition dedicated to Harry Potter paraphernalia in France. This is the next best thing – to mark the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is set in Paris, the window displays along the Boulevard Haussmann will show iconic scenes from the Harry Potter universe. Inside the men’s store, there are further bewitching installations around the atrium and throughout the ground and first floors.


A new app, available on the App Store and Google Play, will allow visitors to take control of the renowned light displays along the Boulevard Haussmann. Don’t like the colours? Rhythm too fast? Simply fancy creating your own special effects? #ONLYHAUSSMANN personalises the experience in such a way that you’ll you never see the same display twice (there are 16 million possible configurations). The app will work from 5.30pm every day starting November 29.

And if that doesn’t keep the kids quiet…

There’s all manner of other things to do. Santa’s lap will be available to sit on from November 24, with souvenir grotto photos available from €10. Throughout the Christmas period, there will also be a series of workshops allowing little ones to make their very own tree decorations, stockings, garlands and even snow globes. And if they haven’t dragged you up there already, the toy shop is on the fifth floor.

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