Paris’s Covered Passages go back to the 1800s before paved streets and sewers.
Where did people, especially the wealthy, go to do their shopping and dine?
To the covered Passageways that provided warm, dry and appealing places to browse, eat and pick up the latest fashion trends.
It took my dear friend Martinn who lives in Paris to point this out to me.
“You don’t know about the passageways?” she asked me incredulously.
I had perhaps stumbled into one traipsing around the city on my regular visits, but without giving it much purposeful thought.
This is why Martinn seemed surprised, as Parisians take their historical heritage very very seriously, and decided that I was in dire need of a properly guided tour.
At the height of popularity, there were 150 covered passageways in Paris.
However, with the advent of department stores, many fell into disrepair and were torn down.
Only about 18 remain and those have been meticulously updated and renovated.
Each has its own history and personality.
Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement was built in 1823 and falls into the category of “très élégante.”
It is 176 metres long (577 ft) with high vaulted archways, chandeliers, mosaic-tiled floors, and stores brimming with wine, cheese fashion, antiques, and home furnishings.
Galerie Vero Dodat
Galerie Vero Dodat (1st arrondissement) is also high-end with a long corridor of restored panelling, painted frescoes on the ceilings, and stunning shops where almost the cheapest item could cost a month’s salary.
Passage des Panoramas
Another of Paris’s covered passages is Passage des Panoramas (2nd arrondissement) which is the oldest of the covered passageways in Paris.
With its various restaurants and “sidewalk” settings where people can gather, it exudes a lively warmth the first two do not have.
I adored the Passage Jouffroy (9th arrondissement).
Its shops offer a sense of whimsy, and it also houses the Hotel Chopin, the oldest hotel in Paris which has been running since the “passage” was created in 1846.
I have the others to explore and discover, and with all of Paris’ outward beauty, the covered passageways are just another of those special draws that reveal themselves like a beautifully wrapped gift and never fail to delight!
Let me know your favourites!
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I love to hear from you!
PS. Thank you Martinn for the tour! You can find out more about Martinn and her apartment (adorable!) that she rents (month-long rentals or more) in Paris by clicking HERE!
Paris Pot Pourri!
Have you caught up with Emily In Paris on Netflix yet?
Her wardrobe knows no bounds in “millennial chic”, is still awful!
(“amusant” — not in a good way)
–and completely impractical for Paris weather!
But Emily’s and the other characters’ love interests are as dreamy as ever,
and French actress Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu (58) rocks it on the Riviera
in an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikini,
and with her new boyfriend who people think is her son.
Have You Missed My Other Paris Adventures?
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Diana Bishop the founder of The Success Story Program and A Woman of a Certain Age in Paris as well as a well-known correspondent with over 25 years working for CTV, CBC News, and NBC News. She loves travel, writing, and all things Parisienne.