Galeries Lafayette is one of those places that you wander into unawares, leaving hours later a poorer and humbler person. Inside its flagship building at 40 boulevard Haussmann, a Belle Époque stained-glass dome caps the world's largest perfumery. The store bulges with thousands of designers, and free 25-minute fashion shows are held Friday at 3 pm in the upstairs café to showcase their wares (reservations are a must: call 01–42–82–30–25 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org).
Another big draw is the comestibles department, stocked with everything from herbed goat cheese to Iranian caviar. Just across the street at 35 boulevard Haussmann is Galeries Lafayette Maison, which focuses on goods for the fashionable home. The Montparnasse branch is a pale shadow of the Boulevard Haussmann behemoths.