The cozy charm of Paris’ covered passages
When the weather is gets cold and the light scarce, you can spend a great afternoon exploring Paris’ covered passages. The covered passages, built between the late 1700 et early 1800’s, were inspired by the architecture of Arab Souks, which was in keeping with the orientalist style of the époque. The novelty was to shield wealthy clientele from the elements, while letting light in from above with metal and glass ceilings. Et voilà the first shopping mall is born!
Haussmann razed many of these passages to make way for the large boulevards and edifices which were his trademark but he left some passages or “galleries” as they are called when accompanied by shops. Here’s a list of our favorites;
Passage Jouffroy ,in 9th arrondissement, between rue Montmartre and rue la de Grand Batelière. Built in 1846, this passage was the first to be entirely constructed in steel and glass and heated from the floor, quite an achievement for the times. This passage houses the exit from the famous wax-works museum the Musée Grevin. 10-12 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris. Métro : Grand Boulevards
Passage Panorama, considered to be the first passage of its kind built in 1799, It opens out of the continuation of the passage Jouffroy on the other side of Boulevard Montmartre. Offering eateries and artisanal wares, as well as a theatre, Theatre des Variétés, opened in 1807 and still functioning, enjoy the vintage atmosphere of stamp collectors, antique postcards, ancient coins and authentic memorabilia. 11 boulevard Montmartre – 75002 Paris, métro : Opera, Grand Boulevards
Passsage Verdeau , constructed in 1847, the extension of Panorama and Jouffroy passages, these three passages can easily be visited one after the other. Inundated with light thanks to its majestic glass and steel vaulted ceiling. This passage is the go-to for antique aficionados, and collectors of rare and old objects such as stamps, postcards, books and comics among other quaint oddities. The café Bistro deserves its name and serves Parisian-style bistro food and atmosphere to match.
Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823, Besides being a chic showcase for many chic shops, the workshop and store for Christain Louboutin amongst others, including an upscale toy shop florist and cafes, passage Vivienne is a jewel of architecture, with its intricate mosaic tiled floors and glass and steel vaulted ceilings. 4 rue des Petits-Champs – 75002 Paris métro : Louvre, Opéra, Grands Boulevards.
Passage Choiseul : This passage’s claim to fame is that it is the longest of the passages. The view of its long glass ceiling is impressive and the shops and restaurants allow for a tranquil and romantic stroll as there are less crowds here. 40 rue des Petits Champs – 75002 Paris
Passage de Grand Cerf, 12 meters in height, is the tallest of the passages. Discover its shops, lighting stores, knitting stores, jewelry among others. The surrounding Montorgueil district is a very charming pedestrian area with cafes, restaurants and upscale shops. 145 rue Saint-Denis – 75002 Paris, métro : Châtelet, les Halles