Is it really only two months since Paris’ famous Champs-Élysées got its mojo back? That was after a debilitating period since October 2018 when the populist gilets jaunes or “yellow vests” movement started mass demonstrations and regularly vandalised the most famous of Paris streets.
Now, although no one dares to announce that the street revolution is over, the protective wooden hoardings and metal window grates are quietly disappearing. In their place is a retail upgrade that started with the opening of a new Galeries Lafayette. That move by an established and well-known Paris retailer has now inspired a cluster of other upmarket stores. A few doors down from Tiffany – an early arrival on “the Champs” – Chanel has opened a beauty boutique right beside the entrance to Galeries Lafayette, and both shops stay open late (Galeries Lafayette until 11pm Monday to Saturday; Chanel until 8.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday).
There is a great deal to do to fill these hours. In line with changing attitudes to beauty treatments that let customers “help themselves” – as pioneered by Sephora further up the road – Chanel Beauty mixes an open attitude with ultra-exclusive products. Inside the streamlined boutique you can find lipsticks and sunglasses, but also super-glamorous, unique potions and accessories.