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.
I especially love to dine in Le Kantine on 5ème--a buffet TDF. Cleverly, the house wines are dispensed here... While dining, you can enjoy a view of the rooftops of Paris.
There's a recent trend toward using Post-It notes as art. Here the word "CAISSE" for cashier is emphasized in white.
One last thought: I, sincerely, told CA that I could just get a pillow and a duvet and move into the BHV. Meant it. It feeds my soul with all its glittering goodness. I just like to see and to touch everything. I don't even need to buy any more. I've already squirreled-away goodies and given plenty of gifts from previous visits. And, truthfully, TJMaxx and Home Goods are a much, much better deal. It's the ambience I want to roll-around in.