CENTRE COMMERCIAL PARLY 2
Avenue du Charles du Gaulle and Route du St.-Germaine
Commune of Les Chesnay / Department of Yvelines, France


The first United States-style shopping mall on the continent of Europe was built on a 50 acre plot, situated 10.3 miles southwest of centre city Paris, in the commune of Les Chesnay.

PARLY 2 opened for business November 4, 1969. It was designed by New York City's Lathrop Douglass, who had conceptualized several iconic malls in the United States. A listing would include Yonkers, New York's CROSS COUNTY CENTER (1954), Montgomery County, Maryland's WHEATON PLAZA (1960) and Fairfax County, Virginia's TYSONS CORNER CENTER (1968).

The basic idea for PARLY 2 was envisaged by Robert de Balkany and Jean-Louis Solal, with the complex being developed by La Societe des Centres Commerciaux (SCC), of Paris. The retail hub was a component of a two thousand five-hundred unit planned community. The mall's tentative name, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, was changed to simply Parly 2 after the prospective shopping center had been established as a commercial core of the residential development.

The PARLY 2 center consisted of two shopping levels and 624,000 leasable square feet. There were originally two anchor department stores; a 3-level (143,500 square foot), Paris-based Au Printemps ["spring"] and 3-level (108,500 square foot), Paris-based Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville -or BHV- ["bazar of the city hall"].

Among the one hundred stores and services were Cacharel, Christian Dior, Jourdan, Lancel, Lanvin, Lenotre, Miss Franck, a Prisunic supermarket and Cinemas 2 twinplex. There was also 55,000 square feet of leased office space.

The interior mallway was decked out in a late '60s Deco Avante-Garde motif, with fountains, artificial foliage and little natural lighting. The complex was also partially surrounded by a 2-level parking deck, with accommodations for three thousand autos.

Other suburban-style shopping malls followed. These included VELIZY 2 (1972) {5.7 miles southeast, in Velizy-Villacoublay} and ROSNY 2 (1975) {16.8 miles northeast, in Rosny-Sous-Bois}.

PARLY 2 was expanded toward the southeast in 1986-1987. 322,900 leasable square feet, and eighty stores, were added, including a 2-level (60,500 square foot) third anchor. A predominantly single-level, Y-shaped mallway was built, which crossed over Avenue du Docteure Albert Schweitzer. The thoroughfare was routed through a small tunnel for the mallway crossing.

A good deal of the new structure had rooftop parking. Sections were built over a ground level deck, as well, with two multi-level garages being constructed. These components expanded the parking capacity at the mall to five thousand two hundred autos.

Today, the South Extension wing has five junior anchor-sized tenants; C & A (an apparel chain), fnac (selling electronics and appliances), Habitat (carrying home furnishings and accessories) and Truffault (dealing in outdoor and gardening accouterments).

United States-based Toys "R" Us opened their thirty-fourth store in France, at PARLY 2, on October 21, 2006. Moreover, there was an 8-unit "Aire de Restauration", or Food Court, on an upper level of the South Extension.

The original -circa-'69- structure features stores such as Darty (another electronics retailer), Go Sport, Levis Store, BCBGMaxAzria, La Comptesse du Barry, Pharmacie du Trianon, Victor Victoria, Sephora and two supermarkets; Monoprix (which also carries hard and softlines) and ATAC / Simply Market.

PARLY 2 is owned by a joint venture of SCC, its original developer, and Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco. In 2006, a 120 million Euro (156 million US dollar) expansion and renovation of the mall was proposed, which got underway in 2008.

215,000 leasable square feet were added, parking access improved and the existing interior given a facelift. The project was completed in late 2010. With the renovation, PARLY 2 encompassed 1,161,900 leasable square feet and two hundred and fifty department stores, supermarkets, boutiques and bistros.

Sources:

"Parly 2" article on Wikipedia "L'encyclopedie libre"
www.parly2.com
www.scc.fr (La Societe des Centres Commerciaux)
www.unibail-rodamco.com
www.yveslineradio.com
http://www.bdp.com (BDP Company)

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