Passages of the 18th and 19th centuries in Paris – Divine all year round
When the wind blows or a downpour distracts you from the magnificent buildings of Paris, treat yourself to stunning covered galleries, where you can meet beautiful covered terraces, bel canto cafes, philately and decoration specialists, shoemakers , hatters, engravers and a thousand delicious shops you didn’t even know existed.
You will take the opportunity to dine and laugh on the terrace regardless of the mood of the frog staring at you in the sky of changing colors.
Paris has more than 20 historic covered galleries including the famous ‘Passage du Cerf’ or « Passages des Panoramas ’. These historic covered galleries, for which Paris has often been a pioneer in the world, can be found in nearly a third of the Parisian arrondissements and in particular in the Grands Boulevards district, built during the time of Napoleon the 3rd and Baron Haussmann.
You will be able to shop or ‘magasiner’, as our Quebec cousins and French-speakers say, or go in search of astonishing treasures, dresses, curtains and small linens, lace and ties … with the little hat you will wear for the next great occasion such as the Grand Prix de Diane or the baptism of a grandnephew or the marriage of a super girlfriend.
We won’t be able to tell you about all the passages, but we just make your mouth water with a few appetizers and small appetizers …
Dating from 1823 and fabulously decorated with stone mosaics on the floor, mirror panels and glass roofs letting in the light of day, this double gallery is one of the most beautiful in Paris, with its many fashion boutiques, tearooms, delicatessens, wine cellars and ideal finds for your gifts at any time of the year. Among the more recent boutiques are haute couture with Jean-Paul Gautier and Yuki Torii, who have done fashion shows in the passage, as well as furniture and interior design shops. The decor of the gallery is neoclassical, with paintings, sculptures, a canopy and a beautiful renovation carried out on the old half-moon windows. You will also discover goddesses and nymphs in the splendid Belle Epoque glass rotunda. You will also enjoy sunlit glass galleries, bringing in light throughout the galleries.
Located between the ‘Louvre’ and ‘Bourse’ metro stations, it welcomes you between rue Vivienne and rue de la Banque, in the 2nd and opens Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm
Galerie de la Madeleine and Galerie Royale
Very close to the Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, these two galleries were opened in 1845 by the architect Théodore Charpentier, between the rue Boissy d’Anglas and the place de la Madeleine. You will find there among others the famous restaurant « Lucas-Carton » dating from 1904, with a splendid Art Nouveau architecture attributed to famous architect Majorelle.
The entrance to the Royal Gallery is via 11 rue Royale and offers an astonishing panorama of tableware shops, to make you want to get married or marry your children every week… You will find in particular the very close presence of the great name ‘Cristofle ‘. All these beautiful shops are opened Mondays to Saturdays.
Very close to the Vivienne Galerie, this delightful passage from 1826 takes its name from the Hôtel Colbert, a private mansion built at that time, just a few years after the departure of Napoleon.
This gallery, which belongs to the ‘National Library’ does not offer any shops. But a wonderful luxury of 19th century decor and architecture and several cultural institutions and research laboratories, including the National Institute of Art History (INHA) and the National Heritage Institute (INP).
The ‘Le Grand Colbert‘ brasserie is a large classic brasserie with magnificent floors, good wooden chairs and unique decoration. This brasserie offers high quality menus, including fine Atlantic oysters, great Champagnes, foie gras, a Napoleon mille-feuille and a raspberry vacherin.
Smaller and more confidential than the previous two, the Véro-Dodat gallery was created in 1836, after the revolution of 1830 and was one of the first among the passages to be lit by gas. Astonishing in decor and structure, it offers impeccable white and black marble floors with mirrors, paintings, columns and ceilings in a Greek style and typical of French chic. Its shops are very varied but offer among others decoration shops, antique dolls, and among others the famous Louboutin shoemaker, who welcomes a clientele of young women eager from all over the world. Although this passage is not the longest in Paris, its unique white and black diamond architecture offers a very original perspective and lengthens the gaze. This gallery also plunges us into 19th century France, and into a unique charm, at a time when neonized shopping malls did not exist.
Galerie Véro-Dodat is open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is located between rue Bouloi and rue JJ-Rousseau, less than 400m from the Louvre and its metro station ‘Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre’.
The Passage des Princes was created by banker Jules Mires, who goy an official agreement on September 3rd, 1860. He built on the former ‘Hôtel des Princes et de l’Europe’, formerly existing at 97 rue de Richelieu (2nd). Built in 1860 under Napoleon the 3rd, it has later been destroyed by promoters in 1985, to be finally rebuilt identically in 1995, with the same original 1930’s decor and external glasses. It was very famous from 1870 till 1914 and later on, when it welcomed painting Gallery ‘La Vie Moderne’ (Georges Charpentier), who hosted many impressionist painters on the Bd des Italiens side entrance.
Located a stone’s throw from the Opera (Palais Garnier) and the Lafayette and Printemps department stores, with its main entrance at 5 Bd des Italiens, its architecture fits perfectly with the beautiful Haussmann buildings in the neighborhood.
Considered the temple of play, this covered passage houses many stores dedicated to toys, model making, video games … A pleasure for the kids, the teenagers but also for the older ones who have kept a child’s soul. The second access to the passage is located at 97 rue de Richelieu. Open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
We will not describe all the passages of Paris for you here, but we will leave you dreaming with their evocative names already, and this non-exhaustive list.
Passage du Caire, Passage Verdeau, Passage du Grand Cerf (mentioned above), Passage Jouffroy, Passage Choiseul (of Minister Choiseul), Passage Vendôme, Passage Puteaux, Passage Bourg l’Abbé, Galerie Ben Aïad, Passage Ponceau, Passage des Panoramas , Passage des Princes, Passage de l’Ancre, Passage l’Homme, Passage du Prado, Passage Brad, Passage des deux Pavillons and Arcades du Lido on the Champs-Elysées.
And, whatever the changing weather of the boulevards, you will find these havens of peace with sumptuous decorations invented and created by French entrepreneurs and architects to protect your footsteps when exploring Paris.
You will savor these external windows, these perspectives, these show windows, these decorations, these café terraces where you will savor unique aromas, with neighbors laughing and singing.
And then you will understand why thousands of great artists, musicians, engineers, scientists and architects have come and still come to Paris every year, because Paris vibrates with all its lights, universal and unique by its beauty.
Francois P. VALLET, coach in startups and SMEs, multilingual speaker, publisher.