Sometimes, walking around downtown Lisbon takes me back to by-gone days that I’m 60 years too young to have ever known. The city is full of tiny streets lined with old shops and even the occasional department store, many of which have been around for decades. On one of the capital’s most renowned streets, Rua Garrett, you will find one such iconic department store: Paris em Lisboa (which, unsurprisingly, means “Paris in Lisbon”). Stepping inside this beautiful department store is like traveling back in time to the Belle Époque.
Part of the allure of Paris em Lisboa is being surrounded by the stunning dark wood cabinets that line the art nouveau interior. Everything is distributed and arranged so beautifully inside that there’s no doubt you’re in a boutique store. But it’s the impressive facade that really draws you in…
Dating back to 1888, Paris em Lisboa is a landmark building. Back when it opened, it would import the latest, fashion-forward products from Paris – hence the name. With an offer like that, it’s no surprise that it was once frequented by Portuguese high society. In 1902, the queen of Portugal made Paris em Lisboa an official supplier to the royal household. Pretty impressive, considering it had only been around for 14 years!
Over the years, it adapted its product lines to the changing times. It was once the place to buy your fabrics, for example, but it no longer carries these. Nowadays, you can buy gorgeous items for the home, such as towel sets, napkins and tablecloths, bed sheets and blankets. You can also find men’s and women’s clothes and kitchen accessories such as quality aprons and oven mitts. I especially love the bathroom accessories section on the ground floor: it’s easy to imagine those items in a fancy 1940s hotel or a Vanderbilt Estate. If you want to buy a gift for someone who appreciates unique and quality products, look no further than Paris em Lisboa!
My grandmother used to take my mom to this department store when she was little, and a few decades later, my mom took me there. I hope that one day, I can also introduce my kids to this iconic place and that future generations – as well as my present-day readers – can continue to enjoy this “Old World” boutique.