Paris Theatre District & Shopping

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Discover Place du Chatelet and Delightful Boutiques

The fabulous Paris theatre district is in the famous square of Place du Châtelet on the right bank of the river Seine, bordering between the 1st and 4th Paris arrondissement. This is a great center location if you want to go shopping on the Rue de Rivoli or walk over to the underground shopping mall Les Halles Paris.


The Paris theatre district and Place du Châtelet lie at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the left bank.

Paris Theatre District at the bridge of Pont au Change
View of the Théâtre de la Ville at Place du Châtelet in the Paris Theatre District from the bridge of Pont au Change


The name of the bridge changes from Pont au Change to Boulevard du Palais while on Île de la Cité, and changes again to Pont Saint-Michel between the island and the left bank.

From the Paris theatre district, on your way to the underground shopping mall, Les Halles Paris, are many interesting Paris restaurants and boutiques to discover.

Follow Rue Saint-Denis and cross Rue de Rivoli. Turn left on Rue Courtalon and right on Rue Pierre Lescot.

This route will take you to the arches of Arche Chaussures and to the huge underground shopping center of Les Halles Paris.

Arche Chaussures near Les Halles Paris
The Arches called Arche Chaussures before arriving to the huge Underground Shopping Mall of Les Halles Paris

Back at the Place du Châtelet square and Paris theatre district, the Théâtre de la Ville and the Théâtre du Châtelet are surrounded by a great selection of wonderful Paris restaurants and bistros where you can dine, sip wine and relax after going to the theatre.

Place du Chatelet Restaurants in the Paris Theatre District
Relaxing at a Restaurant near the Théâtre de la Ville at Place du Châtelet in the Paris Theatre District

While sitting at an outdoor patio for lunch or dinner, you can easily see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Conciergerie. Near the Notre Dame is the Flower and Bird market called Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux.

From the Paris Theatre District you can see the Notre Dame
View of the Notre Dame Cathedral from Place du Châtelet in the Paris Theatre District

Cross over the Pont au Change for some peaceful moments at the flower and bird market at Place Louis-Lepine, and then take a walk to the left bank.

On the left bank you will find the Fontaine Saint-Michel, the Latin Quartier and Boulevard Saint-Michel and with more great restaurants and Paris shopping.

Do Underground Shopping Mall at Les Halles Paris

Les Halles is named after the large traditional central marketplace of Paris shopping, which was enlarged by King Philippe II Auguste in 1181, and finally demolished in 1971. Unable to compete in the new market economy and in need of massive repairs, the old market place was replaced with a huge underground modern shopping mall, the Les Halles Paris.

The open air center area is below street level, like a pit, and contains sculpture, fountains, and mosaics, as well as museums including the Musée Grévin (a wax museum).

Beneath this lies the underground station Châtelet-Les-Halles, a central hub of Paris’s commuter rail system, the RER and Paris subway.

Les Halles Paris Shopping Mall near Paris Theatre District
View of the entrance to the Underground Shopping Mall Les Halles Paris not far from Place du Châtelet and the Paris Theatre District.

The underground mall is fabulous. What amazes me is that Paris has much more than what I expected for a city of antiquity. Les Halles Paris may be somewhat dated, but it tells me that this city has been ahead of its time. This is a fascinating shopping mall to explore and see how far in the underground the path takes you.

Paris has so much to offer, both new and old. The innovative ideas of Paris shopping malls dating from the 19th century have carried forward into the 20th century and onward, and Les Halles is a good example of innovation.

Historical Church Église Saint-Eustache near Les Halles Paris Shopping Mall

Built between 1532 and 1632, the Église Saint-Eustache is one of the massive Paris churches and one of the best standing examples of the early Gothic style. With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France.

Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. If you are planning a shopping trip to Les Halles Paris, you can see the church from the grounds surrounding the shopping mall.

Historical Church Eglise Saint-Eustache in Paris
Near Les Hall Paris shopping mall is the Historical Église Saint-Eustache Church

There are several impressive paintings by Rubens preserved in the church today. Every summer the church has organ concerts which commemorate the premieres of Berlioz. Église Saint-Eustache is near Les Halles Paris and the Bourse de Commerce (Board of Trade / Paris Stock Exchange).

La Samaritaine Historical Department Store in Paris

La Samaritaine was a large and wonderful department store in Paris located between the River Seine and Rue de Rivoli. The store was first opened in 1869 by Ernest Cognacq and Marie-Louise Jaÿ, his wife, the first clothing vendor at Le Bon Marché, a rival department store.

Cognacq began his trade on the rue de la Monnaie with a very small boutique, but by 1900, the couple decided to expand their enterprise into the large edifice seen today, the “Grands Magasins de La Samaritaine.”

Through the steady acquisition of neighbouring buildings, the department store regularly expanded what could no longer be called a “boutique” and the surrounding city blocks were entirely reworked and reconstructed progressively into Art Nouveau and Art Déco aesthetics to the building.

The result was an eleven-story department store, one that is today considered a historical monument.

La Samaritaine Department store near the Paris Theatre District
La Samaritaine Department store as seen from a Boat Cruise on the Seine

La Samaritaine was scheduled to reopen its doors by the end of 2011 but the date remains uncertain. Currently owned by LVMH (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton), a luxury-goods maker, the building has been closed since 2005 to update the 19th-century building to modern standards of building safety and security.

The store is well-known for its rooftop café with excellent views of the city, located not far from the Louvre museum to the west, and overlooking the River Seine and Pont Neuf on the south side.


Do visit the Paris Theatre District with its exciting shows, dining and shopping venues.

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