Many people get shocked when they hear that Russia is one of the best places in Europe for shopping enthusiasts. St. Petersburg and Moscow have some of the top shopping centers in Europe, which many people would love to visit during their travel to Russia. Especially St. Petersburg that on top of its historical sites, recreational centers, and ballet halls, drew the attention of tourists who want to shop during their travel to Russia. Shopping centers like TsUM and Gum Mall in Moscow are well-known places in Moscow tour, and St. Petersburg has multiple places like DLT and Nevsky Center, which many people visit during their St. Petersburg tour. The APR or Au Pont Rouge is another modern shopping center in St. Petersburg that we at the Star Travel Group recommend our tourists visit during their tour to Russia.
The history of the Au Pont Rouge dates back to 1905 when the famous Belgian company S.Esders and K.Scheefhals had decided to open up their branch in the capital of Russia, St. Petersburg. Their representatives had bought a corner house on the embankment of the Moika River to start their business in Russia. They have had turned that corner house into a five-story modern trading house for their company. They got permission to build that building and sell their products, which was ready-made men’s and women’s clothes. Between 1906 to 1907, Vladimir Lipsky and Konstantin Rochefort had constructed the unusual structure of S.Esders and K.Scheefhals. Konstantin Rochefort had designed the building by borrowing the idea behind the Singer House on the well-known Nevsky Prospect. The art nouveau style was becoming popular in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 20th century, and many buildings adapted that style for their architecture. However, given that it was still new, some people found it unusual design inside the historic city of St. Petersburg, but it turned out to be one of the significant architectural attractions of St. Petersburg in the tour to Russia since many people have been enjoying the Discover the Art Nouveau Architecture walking path on their St. Petersburg tour. It wasn’t only the architecture of the building that impress people back then; When the construction ended, it revealed that the new trading house entirely complies with the modern standards to be a large shopping center in St. Petersburg.
The Au Pont Rouge, or as it was called back then, S.Esders and K.Scheefhals, was the first-ever multi-story department store in St. Petersburg. It’s architecture design, shops placements, storage rooms, showrooms, and office premises together made it possible for the department store to compete with top European shopping centers of the 20th century. For the next ten years until the October Revolution in 1917, the S.Esders and K.Scheefhals was identified as one of the most popular, fashionable, and chic department store in St. Petersburg. It was also the favorite shopping center of the noble families and high-class citizens of St. Petersburg as well as some of the royal family members, including the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of the last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II. People could find various sorts of clothes in this department store as well as men’s and women’s accessories, such as hats, gloves, jewelry, etc.
Everything had changed for the Au Pont Rouge after the October Revolution. The owners of the store abandoned the building, and the department store left empty for about a year and a half. In 1919, the city commission had decided to give the building to Central Garment Factory, and three years later, the production acquired the name of Moisei Markovich Goldstein, who then changed his name to V. Volodarsky since he was a tailor before the revolution. In 1928, the production’s name had changed once again, this time to Bolshevichka, which became one of the most well-known clothing production companies in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the building of the Au Pont Rouge had suffered a lot during the Soviet Union era. First, the steeple of the building got destroyed in the 1930s. The tower was one of the main features of the Art Nouveau buildings in St. Petersburg, which almost all of them had lost it during the first decades of the new regime. In the 1960s, the glass dome of the Au Pont Rouge, which was another exclusive feature of the building, had taken apart. However, unlike other Esders & Sheyfals buildings around the world, such as Wroclaw, Brussels, and Vienna, their building in St. Petersburg is one of the buildings that survived today alongside the building in Paris. The Bolshevichka acquired the new name of Clothes Factory of St. Petersburg in 1992.
Years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the building went under complete reconstruction by the BTK Development group. The plan was to restore the building to its pre-revolution condition with the same design, which required to re-create some of the features of the building, including its tower with the steeple on top of that, the glass dome, and its attic. Since there was no drawing of the Au Pont Rouge’s steeple, it had to be recreated from the photographs. This building is included in the UNESCO world heritage, like many other buildings in the historical center of St. Petersburg, which you can visit during your tour to Russia.
While it was one of the first department stores in St. Petersburg, opened in 1907, and reopened 108 years later in 2015, it still identifies as one of the most famous shopping centers of St. Petersburg same as the time when the royal family was among its customers. Currently, the Au Pont Rouge occupies an area of 7200 square meters, with diverse shops and stores, including an exclusive Russian souvenir store, beauty center, a supermarket, men’s, women’s and children clothes, accessories store, and several other shops. There are also multiple restaurants, café houses, galleries, concert halls, and exhibition area in the building that hosts all types of events. There are also various services, including multilingual assistance, money exchange center, wardrobe, store guide, etc.
We at the Star Travel recommend our travelers to check out our weblog if they want to learn more about other top shopping centers in St. Petersburg and even Moscow. We have also gathered several useful information, including tips and advice on how to travel to Russia, the best places that you should visit on your Russia tour, the most beautiful places that you must see on during your trip, and other information that you may need during your travel.