November 22, 2014

A walk through Paris' Passages

Paris Walks was on my schedule - once again - this morning. A charming Belgian lady, with a bachelor's in political cartoon design and a PHD in American landscaping (the mind boggles), walked us across the 1ère and 2ème arrondissements to discover Paris' old-fashioned covered passages. Built in 18th and 19th century, these glass-roofed shopping galleries are the forerunners to our modern day malls. Goes to show that Paris was always way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to shopping!

These architectural gems are fantastic spots to spend a rainy day. Today was simply cold but after three years of touring this city, I am now equipped with Uniqlo's high-tech, a cutting-edge fabric which takes body heat and stores it within air pockets deep within the fibres, to keep me warm during winter months. Trust me, it's not just marketing, it really works but that is a whole post in itself!

Back to the covered passages, each one has its own special character but they have one thing in common: they are all private roads, some open to pedestrians, some not, and are all run by private owners. Most are classified Historic Monuments housing shops, luxury boutiques, toyshops, stationaries, bookshops, restaurants and performance venues side by side.

Out of the over 20 covered passages left today, my two favourite are the Galerie Vivienne, one of the prettiest, with ochre paintwork and mythology-themed mosaics and the Passage des Panoramas, built in 1800, which takes the credit for being the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817. I love the signs hanging over all the food stalls and the little typical bistros tables lining up along the wooden framework of the passage.

It's just a shame that their latest addition, the former Stern engravings boutique turned into the capital’s most trendy Caffé Stern, designed partly by Philip Starck, hung up on me when I wanted to reserve a table for 10!?

Once upon a time... 

Passage Vero Dodat 

Passage Potier

THE vintage shop in town

Passage de Beaujolais with a happy tourist

Galerie Vivienne 

Time for a coffee

Enchanted passage

Passage des Panoramas


1 comment:

  1. oh, I love love love every single spot your featured here! Mind you, I have never been to any of them, but I certainly plan to, when I finally visit Paris! These picturesque, charming spots are right up my alley! This might be my favorite post of your to date! Now I am off to pin several of these awesome pictures!


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