How to Attend the Galeries Lafayette Fashion Show

galeries-lafayette-fashion-showThe Galeries Lafayette Fashion Show in Paris is on many tourists’ to-do lists when they visit. The flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann puts on a free, weekly fashion show each Friday.

Reservations are required for the half-hour fashion show, which takes place Fridays at 3 p.m. from mid-March to the end of July, and mid-September through the Friday before Christmas.

Don’t expect a particularly glitzy affair. In fact, it’s not much different than a fashion show at your local mall. But the models are attractive and the clothes are cool, and you’ll be able to tell everybody that you attended a fashion show in Paris! It’s something fun that girlfriends or mothers and daughters would enjoy, and you can make a day out of it by having lunch at one of the restaurants in the store before or after. And of course, set aside time for some shopping in Paris.

I’ll break down for you what to expect and how to make a reservation for the show.

The flagship Galeries Lafayatte on Boulevard Haussmann is a grand department store that far exceeds anything I’ve seen in the U.S. in terms of sheer size and beauty. The Art Nouveau glass dome is a masterpiece and the inventive window displays beckon to be gazed upon, even if you’re not a shopper. I think everyone should make time for a visit to Galeries Lafayette whether you go to a fashion show or not.

You can make a reservation a few weeks in advance (or more if your potential show date coincides with a holiday or some other major event). I had no problem getting a spot a week and a half in advance for an early June show June when I went.

Making a Reservation for the Fashion Show

You can book either by phone or online, but I would recommend booking online so that you can print out the confirmation email / voucher and bring it with you in case of any mix-ups at the door, like I experienced.

In my case, I reserved by phone while I was in Paris (I was able to tell the switchboard operator in French what I wanted). But somehow, they didn’t have my name on the list when I arrived at the door. I didn’t have any problems getting in though, since I was just a party of one, but I might not have been so lucky otherwise, which is why I urge you to book by email instead.

Email your reservation request to welcome@galerieslafayette.com. In your email, you need to provide them with your name, email address, the date you would like to attend, and the number of people in your party. If you don’t get a response after a couple of weeks, or it’s getting close to your travel date, you can follow up with Brigitte Roesch, Promotions Manager, at broesch@galerieslafayette.com (for Brigitte Roesch, Promotions Manager), or call (from outside France) +33 1 42 82 36 40.

If you choose to reserve by phone, here’s a script you can use to tell the switchboard operator why you’re calling:
Bonjour. Je voudrais faire une réservation pour le défilé de mode, s’il vous plait.

Phonetically, that’s “Zhay voo-dray fair oon reh-zer-vass-yohn poor luh day’-feel-lay, see-voo-play. (Sorry for the pseudo-phonetics, but if you say it as written, you’ll be understood accurately.)

Once she transfers you, you can ask the person who answers if they speak English (they do), and then proceed with your reservation in English.

They instruct you to be there by 2:45, but I would arrive by 2:30 for the best seats and to deal with the chaos at the door. You will be among other tourists jockeying to be the first inside.

The show is held on the 7th floor. To get there, take the escalators in the Main Store up to the 6th floor, and then follow the signs to “Salon Opera.” You’ll pass a Chinese tea salon, a sushi cafe, and two souvenir shops along the way. Just past the second souvenir shop, and across from the Galeries Restaurant, there’s an escalator on the right. (If you hit the gelato counter, you’ve gone too far).

Walk up the escalator (which they turn off so people can stand on it) to the 7th floor and join the line.

Note: There are no restrooms once you go upstairs, so if you need to go before the show, do it before you get in line. Follow the directions above once you get on the 6th floor, but hang a right at the second souvenir shop (just before the 7th floor escalators) and walk straight ahead to the restroom.

The room where the fashion show is held kind of looks like a hotel conference room. The best seats are either in the front row along the runway or the front row at the end of the stage — so that you can get a clear view of the fierce shoes. The next best seats would be at the beginning of the rows closest to the stage, because the models stop and pose there. (It’s a t-shaped runway, and they stop at the far left and right ends of the “T.”)

The worst seats are the overflow seats around the perimeter of the room against the wall, but even those aren’t that bad because the models will still walk by you. The show lasts about 30 minutes. The program says photos and videos are not allowed, but the staff didn’t really police anyone. The crowd is mostly American tourists who are dressed very casual.

After the show, head up one more floor to the terrace for panoramic views of Paris and a beautiful aerial view of the Paris Opera. (Take some euro coins in case you want to use the telescope.) Have a lunch at the terrace restaurant, which serves salads, pastas, Pierre Hermé macarons and ice cream, and Mariage Frères tea.  Or, make plans to have lunch before the show, and head downstairs at 2:30 for the show.

Galeries Lafayette
40 Blvd. Haussmann
Paris, France 75009
Metro: Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette, Lines 7 & 9

 

 

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