Le Bon Marché

Le Bon Marché ("the good market", or "the good deal" in French; French pronunciation: ) is the name of one of the best known department stores in Paris, France. It is sometimes regarded as the "first department store in the world". Although this depends on what is meant by 'department store', it may have had the first specially designed building for a store in Paris. The founder was Aristide Boucicaut.


The store was founded as a small shop in Paris during 1838, and was a fixed-price department store from about 1850. It was a successful business, and a new building was constructed for the store by Louis Auguste Boileau in 1867. Louis Charles Boileau, his son, continued the store in the 1870s, consulting the firm of Gustave Eiffel for parts of its structure. Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, the grandson of Louis Auguste, worked on an extension to the store in the 1920s.

After adopting the interlocking rings emblem in 1914, Pierre de Coubertin commission the official Olympic flag to be made in this store for the 1916 Summer Olympics. It debuted in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

Recommended reading

The Bon Marché. Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869–1920, by Michael B. Miller – a history of the store.

Au Bonheur des Dames, Émile Zola, 1883. The eleventh novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series. Documents the birth of modern retailing, changes in city planning and architecture, considers feminism, deconstructs desire in the marketplace and tells in a Cinderella format the life of the Boucicauts who, in the novel, appear as Octave Mouret and Denise Baudu. One of Zola's more positive novels about the changes in society during the Second Empire.

Bernard Marrey, Les Grands Magasins des origines a 1939 (Paris: Picard, 1979)

Notes and references

Coordinates: 48°51′3.67″N 2°19′27.73″E / 48.8510194°N 2.3243694°E / 48.8510194; 2.3243694