We discovered the BHV (Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville) during our first visit to Paris in December, 1999. I'd read about it, obscurely, in a Traveler's Tales book. It was originally established in the early 1850s and has continually operated since.
While purchased by Galleries Lafayette in 1991, in 1999 it still retained its chaotic, mysterious collections of individual and slightly odd merchandise, mish-mashed in with the usual mundane stock in the various departments.
I fell in love with the stationary department, the basement hardware, and the fabrics! The culinary department begged to be explored. I spent whole days in the BHV during our first few trips to Paris. Our grandchildren scored one-of-a-kind (in the USA) clothing and toys.
While the BHV has been outfitted and merchandised into a grand shopping experience, it still retains much of its charm--if just a bit under the surface.
Just opposite the BHV is the stunning architecturally magnificent Hôtel de Ville. And, one of the many beautiful carousels in Paris.
This visit coincides with Christmas so we're enjoying both the traditional and the unusual decorations. Clever use of snow skis (0ème).
The gift wrapping overflows the Stationary Department on the 3ème. Lovely.