The Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, renamed Le BHV Marais in 2013, is a multi-specialty department store on rue de Rivoli in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, facing the Hôtel de Ville. Located in the heart of the historic Marais district, Le BHV Marais remains the emblematic store.
Le BHV Marais is part of the Groupe Galeries Lafayette. It occupies four other smaller specialized stores, in the neighborhood, and has also opened several other shops in France and in Beirut, Lebanon. BHV currently operates several stores in the Paris metropolitan area and two in the Lyon metropolitan area. It has been a member of the International Association of Department Stores from 1963 to 1993.
Nestled just at the epicenter of the Rive Droite/Rive Gauche, this institution remains the landmark of creative do-it-yourselfers, Parisians on the Left Bank, hipsters from the Hôtel de Ville, arty cordons bleus… A place offer series of meetings, ideas and exchanges, where personalized shopping and expert support come together thanks to a range of services and tailor-made solutions to facilitate the birth of all projects and all desires.
A veritable Bazaar in the heart of the capital, the BHV Marais offers a unique and unusual atmosphere that explores all lifestyles through an attractive and lively selection, evolving with the seasons. This establishment was at the origin of a chain of stores centered on do-it-yourself, the store brought together under the same roof everything necessary for personal and household equipment, from fashionable decoration to beauty or DIY, the latter sector occupying the basement. of the main building and having greatly contributed to the reputation of the store.
A true place of life and inspiration, the BHV Marais is positioned as a “Beau Bazar de Passionés”, offering a creative and responsible selection combining home, decoration, DIY, design, leisure, fashion, beauty and catering. The teams and passionate partners of the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville allow it to offer local, French and international customers nearly 900 brands, from the most accessible to the most exclusive, and unique moments of life where the experience is without constantly renewed.
The store slogan is “Style as lifestyle”. For all enthusiasts of DIY, Decoration, Cooking, Creative Hobbies, Fashion and better living, the BHV Marais offers the best. A luxury bazaar, where you can find everything. From the Lagostina sauté pan, to the SMEG dishwasher and a state-of-the-art Bultex mattress. The unmissable address for aesthetes and epicureans…
Its flagship store, located on rue de Rivoli in Paris for 160 years, contributes to the attractiveness of the historic Marais district and offers its local, French and international customers a personalized and constantly renewed shopping experience, supported by a suite of ideas and meetings, services and expert support. The BHV Marais is also present through a second French window in the Parly 2 shopping center.
The history of BHV Marais began in 1856 when bimbelotier François-Xavier Ruel set up a business at the corner of rue de Rivoli and rue des Archives, run by his wife, Marie-Madeleine Poncerry. This store, which presents itself as a modest bazaar, offers a series of objects and toys as well as a fashion selection. It quickly became “the best market in all of Paris” and established itself as a reference shop where Parisians can come and discover the latest novelties.
In the aftermath of the Liberation, the basement was transformed: tools and hardware came to complete the Home and Household offer and the DIY department became the largest in Europe. In 1991, the BHV joined the Galeries Lafayette group, perpetuating its place in the world of Parisian department stores. It was renamed Le BHV Marais in 2014.
Xavier Ruel, an engineer, and his wife moved to Paris in 1852. Ruel was selling small items through street vendors and realized that the most effective neighborhood was the one around the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall). Therefore, he rented the ground floor of a building to open a boutique, in this neighborhood, which he called, the “Bazar Parisien”.
According to the legend, in 1855, Ruel saved Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie, whose horses became frightened while passing in front of his store. To reward him, she gave him a sum of money which, enabled him to expand his store, in 1856, which he renamed “Bazar Napoléon” to show his gratitude to the Emperor and his wife.
François-Xavier Ruel uses this award to create a “bazaar” in reference to Persian places of commerce, which evoke lights and oriental riches and a business center bringing together several industries and specialties, in vogue in the 19th century. In 1860, he gave it the name of “Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville”, and his wife Marie-Madeleine Poncerry took the helm. The sign, which wants to be “the best market in all of Paris”, opens to customers directly on the street and sells items at fixed prices, on large displays that make its popularity.
In 1866, thanks to his successful business, he was able to rent three floors of this same building, on 54 rue de Rivoli. In 1870, his store occupied the whole building. In 1871, due to the fall of the Empire, Ruel changed the name of the store by “Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville” which refers to the Hôtel de Ville, located across the street.
The BHV, like other department stores born in this time, were innovative since they offered fixed price and sometimes, promotions to attract the customers. They also invested in advertisement which was a new aspect of trade.
While the store quickly made a specialty of tool and hardware departments, it also developed many other departments for women’s and men’s equipment, following fashion trends. The brand even offers a range of accessories and perfumes stamped BHV.
Xavier Ruel was also involved in the political and social life of Paris. He was elected city councillor several times and in 1893, was made Knight of the Legion of Honour. He was 78 years old when he died in 1900. He left behind a business who employed 800 people. His company, then named “Société Veuve Ruel et Compagnie” recorded a capital of twelve millions francs.
François-Xavier Ruel died in 1900, leaving behind a company with 800 employees. His grandson Henri Viguier (1877-1967) then took over the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville. He completed the work of his ancestor, undertaking vast transformations in order to unify and adapt the buildings gradually purchased to the needs of the trade. It was he who directed the vast works carried out in 1912 according to the plans of the architect Auguste Roy, giving the building its famous rotunda and most of its modern structure.
After the World War I, consumption exploded among all social classes and the BHV, like other department stores benefited from this phenomenon and targeted new customers, the middle class. With the development of domestic appliances, in the 1920s, the BHV opened a new department which attracted numerous housewives. This department has kept growing since then. During the World War II, the BHV faced difficulties in its resupplying. Henri Viguier is the man behind all of the store’s major achievements, from BHV, which became a limited company in 1931, to its IPO in 1960.
In August 1944, the BHV, due to its location, was able to witness the liberation of Paris and the end of the war. After the Second World War, the store’s offer and its organization were redesigned. The basement contributes to building the reputation of the store as being the “greatest tool specialist”, delighting DIY enthusiasts.
In 1963, the company opens its first branch store. Over time, several other BHV department stores are opened in Paris region but most of them are closed nowadays.
Following the death of Henri Viguier in 1967, the management of the company remained within the same family: Gérard Boulot (1912-2006), Henri Viguier’s brother-in-law, took over the management of BHV.
In 1989, the Nouvelles Galeries group held more than half of the shares of the BHV group and became its main shareholder. Two years later, the Galeries Lafayette group acquired the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV) and Nouvelles Galeries brands.
In 2007-2008, the BHV expands its store with new specialized stores, in the same neighborhood. In 2012, the store management announced further modifications to its structure, with renovation on each floor, to give a renewal aspect to the store.
In 2013, the establishment was renovated and its name changed: it became “Le BHV Marais”, in reference to its location in the Marais, the historic district of the capital. The “do-it-yourself” department is maintained in the basement, while the two floors above are dedicated to women’s fashion, with the arrival of a new “shoes” space on the first floor. The “furniture” sections are removed to make more room for hobbies and clothing.
In 2016, after an agreement was reached between the CFTC, SUD-Solidaires and CFE-CGC unions, Le BHV Marais became the first department store in Paris to open on Sunday. This new regulation is made possible thanks to the Macron law.
In 2016, on the occasion of its anniversary, the BHV celebrates its very close link with creation. He invites the artists Mathieu Mercier and Jean-Luc Moulène & Objet Sens Function to take part in an exhibition that reveals 160 years of history, based on unpublished sources and the company’s archives.
In 2018, the new BHV Marais website went online and featured the same offers as the physical store, enriched with a marketplace to offer a total of more than 70,000 references in the fields of home and fashion.
Between 2018 and 2020, Le BHV Marais completes its transformation and makes new adjustments to the layout of its department store: women’s fashion is concentrated on the first floor, while furniture, decoration and beauty brands make their entrance on the ground floor, and the fourth floor becomes entirely dedicated to furnishing and decoration.
The Fashion offer has been designed to meet the expectations of Parisians keen on trends, who like to find classic men’s and women’s locker rooms as much as unearth new creations. At BHV Marais, they discover a hybrid offer combining iconic and new brands, pop-ups and exclusives. This selection is complemented by a range of beauty, jewelry and accessories; the BHV Marais is this place of commerce that combines all the facets of style and allows everyone to find their own
Man occupies a special place at BHV Marais, which has dedicated a whole building to him on rue de la Verrerie. This five-story store brings together trendy and urban brands ranging from suits to accessories for all occasions.
Four luxury boutiques and four streetwear boutiques located on rue des Archives and rue du Temple enrich an elegant and modern style proposal, including exclusives such as Bape.
DIY, Household Equipment, Creative Hobbies, Fashion, Restaurants… BHV Marais offers an inspiring and unique lifestyle offer, constantly renewed, which will delight creative Parisians.
The historic heart of the BHV Marais, the Bricolage space has established itself as an essential destination in the habits of amateur and professional handymen who come here to find the products and solutions to carry out their various jobs.
In this mythical space of 4,000 m2, designed like a large drugstore and located in the basement of the main building, the BHV Marais teams advise DIY enthusiasts and direct them from a rich offer of more than 50,000 references.
A wide selection of items needed for all types of installations, maintenance and repairs is available in the various departments: tools, shoe repair, drugstore, hardware, electricity, paint and wallpaper or even plumbing and fittings.
The BHV Marais welcomes a selection of French and international brands of the House at the heart of a unique concept, which confirms its ambition to be a platform of inspiration for all. He offers an eclectic journey to rethink each room in his home, between essential references and poorly distributed brands, some of which are developing for the first time in physical stores: from furniture to tableware, from lighting to household appliances or electronics, the universes succeed and complement each other so that everyone can create the interior that looks like them.
A 700 m² space dedicated to Creative Leisure includes a wide choice of haberdashery products, stationery and scrapbooking accessories, offering customers all the tools to make their own decorative objects and develop their creativity. A Mecca for Do It Yourself, the BHV Marais offers workshops accessible to all around the latest decoration trends in order to create personalized, made-to-measure objects.
To extend its lifestyle experience, BHV Marais has developed a trendy restaurant offer in its main store on rue de Rivoli and in the courtyard of BHV Marais L’Homme.
On the fifth floor of the store, Les Tables Perchees offers visitors a moment of relaxation with a varied offer and simple, quality products, chosen according to the seasons. On this floor, Michel Roth, Bocuse d’Or and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, unveils his HIDDEN TABLE with a bistronomic menu offering inventive and gourmet cuisine, in a spirit of conviviality and sharing. The chef also signs several dishes in the gourmet corners of the store, such as Marlette and l’Artisan de la Truffe.
Visitors can take breaks on the ground and third floors of the store thanks to several dedicated areas offering organic, local and exceptional products, from breakfast to afternoon tea, every day of the week. On the top floor, the Le Perchoir Marais bar welcomes the public in an idyllic setting in the heart of the capital. An ideal place to meet up with friends, with a unique view of Paris, the banks of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.
The green patio of the Parisian Omnivore District (POD), located in the courtyard of the BHV Marais L’Homme, also offers a regularly renewed range of cuisines from around the world, for an exotic taste journey while keeping your feet in the Marais.
The BHV Marais at the heart of a unique commercial, gastronomic and cultural ecosystem. In order to capitalize on the influence of the Marais, which is one of the favorite places of destination for Parisians and French and international visitors, the Galeries Lafayette group has deployed an urban ecosystem that extends from rue de Rivoli to rue du Plâtre, under the impetus of the BHV Marais which stands out as the key to this unusual route.
The Homme store, the Parisian Omnivore District food court, the Galeries Lafayette-Royal Quartz Paris store, the streetwear brand BAPE, the Temple’s “sneaker shop” and finally the Italian market Eataly Paris Marais – which has opened its doors in 2019 – mark the footprint of the department store in the streets adjacent to the main building, drawing a space open to all lifestyles. Behind Eataly Paris Marais, Lafayette Anticipations – Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation, asserts itself as a place of research and exhibition at the service of all audiences and artists.
In this atypical urban route, the Englishman Jamie Fobert, renowned for his innovative and passionate architecture, gave a new face to the Cours du Marais. Passageways located in private buildings are now accessible to the public and physically connect BHV Marais, Eataly Paris Marais and Lafayette Anticipations, reviving the spirit of Parisian passageways and modernity.
These new breakthroughs are intended to create links, breaths and pleasure in the customer experience, inside and outside buildings. This background architectural work contributes to nurturing a new approach to commerce, more collaborative, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the ambition of BHV Marais in favor of more committed and meaningful consumption.