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Discovering The Covered Passages In Paris

Covered Passages Galerie Vivienne Paris France
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Gotta love the French. Innovative and stylish. In the 18th and 19th century they were ingenious too, when “les passages couverts” (covered passages or galleries)  were constructed.  

Well before the invention of shopping malls, these  passages were built to protect pedestrians from inclement weather and muddy, dirty streets. But these weren’t just passageways with a roof. They were beautifully designed passages each with unique characteristics in the Belle Epoque style.

The passages were often designed with glass ceilings and were lined with chic boutiques, shops, restaurants and a few apartments. In this week’s post I’ll share with you some covered passages which are  all within walking distance of one another and are perfect to visit on a rainy day. 

 Galerie Vivienne (2nd arr)

Galerie Vivienne Paris France Covered Passages

Galerie Vivienne Paris France

Galerie Vivienne Paris France Covered Passages

Galerie Vivienne Paris France

Passage Vivienne is located near Palais Royale and is most people’s favourite due to the architecture. It is a very pretty place to spend time, walking on the mosaic floors, amongst the statues and shops. There is also the renowned Les Caves Legrand, one of Paris’ best wine shops.

Nearest Metro: Bourse

Passage des Panoramas (2nd arr)

Passage Panoramas Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Panoramas Paris France

Passage Panoramas Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Panoramas Paris France

This passage is near Les Grands Boulevards and is the oldest.  It has numerous entrances and corridors. I actually got lost (easy for me to do) finding my way out. It has a hip wine/lounge bar, “Coinstot Vino” and was the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817.

Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards

Passage Jouffroy (9th arr)

Passage Jouffroy Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Jouffroy Paris France

Passage Jouffroy Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Jouffroy Paris France

Passage Jouffroy Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Jouffroy Paris France

Musee Grevin in the Passage Jouffroy Paris France Covered Passages

Musee Grevin in the Passage Jouffroy Paris France

Upon leaving Passages des Panoramas, across the street you will see Passage Jouffroy. In this passage there are many toy stores that I really enjoyed browsing through. The wax museum, Grevin is also located in this passage and years ago I went. It is like Madame Tussauds and a lot of fun to visit. Certainly there’s a French slant to the displays! This passage also has the Hotel Chopin which some say is inexpensive and has great views.

Nearest Metro: Richelieu-Drouot

Passage Verdeau (9th arr)

Passage Verdeau Paris France Covered Passages

Passage Verdeau Paris France

This passage is connected to Passage Jouffroy and Passage des Panoramas. There are restaurants and antique dealers and it is considered one of the quieter passages.

Nearest Metro: Richelieu-Drouot or Grands Boulevards

Demise Of The Covered Passages

At the end of the 18th century approximately 60 covered passages were built around Paris but with Baron Haussmann’s redesign of Paris with the Grands Boulevards and large department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, the passages popularity declined. Today only about 15 remain (and are privately owned).

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III) had hired Baron Haussmann to rebuild and renovate Paris.  At the time, Paris had overcrowded, filthy, and unsanitary streets and when there were riots it was too easy for the protesters to construct barricades because the streets were so narrow.  Paris was transformed and totally changed with wide boulevards, parks, fountains and a sewer system.

Other Covered Passages To Discover

Passage Colbert— the restaurant Le Grand Colbert is located here. It was featured in the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves.

Passage du Grand Cerf-145 rue Saint-Denis

Passage Brady 43 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement

Passage du Choiseul-near Palais Royale

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
    May 7, 2016 at 5:44 am

    These look so lovely. What fun to explore them.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 7, 2016 at 7:01 am

      I can go through these passages over and over they’re so beautiful.

  • Reply
    Michael
    May 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

    How fun! Marked up a map with these on them… A good reason to “explore”!
    Merci!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Glad it was helpful!

  • Reply
    Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty
    May 9, 2016 at 1:40 am

    The passage couverts look fabulous and enticing, and ripe for exploring. What a great selection and they are all beautiful to look at. Take me back to France soon, I say!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 8:51 am

      And perfect for exploring on a rainy day.

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    May 9, 2016 at 2:34 am

    So much more fun and charming than a mall and I love the idea of peeking into the many interesting stores that line the passages. The mosaic and geometric designed tiled floors are gorgeous and I can picture myself strolling here on a rainy day. I tucked away this post into my Paris folder for inspiration – thanks Jan!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 8:52 am

      So true. There is so much detail in the design and architecture and that’s what makes each of these places so special.

  • Reply
    Karen Warren
    May 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I’ve been to Paris lots of time and never seen those covered passages! I’ll look out for them next time – they look wonderful.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

      They’re pretty hidden. The doorways aren’t fancy but once you get inside…..a treasure!

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    May 9, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve seen just a few of these in Paris but I definitely like to explore more. The photos really are intriguing making me want to return to Paris soon and see each passage.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      There are more that I didn’t even mention so I need to return too and find them!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    May 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    What a really useful list – and who knew that there’s so much more to the passages than just places to shop/eat. They look beautiful, a photographer’s paradise, and so much more interesting than the average photo of the Seine, Eiffel Tower, etc.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      So true about being a photographer’s paradise. I loved taking pictures especially at the Galerie Vivienne.

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    May 9, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    How fortunate we are that 15 covered passages remain! I’ve made note for my next trip to Paris.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 9, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      And on my return I’ll be seeking out more!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    May 9, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    These covered passageways are beautiful. I’ll look for them if I get to Paris again. I hope you at least found the wine/lounge bar when you got lost in the passageway near Les Grands Boulevards.

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 10, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Yes but it was a bit early in the day for a drink so I’ll have to go back!

  • Reply
    Denis Gagnon
    May 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I just love your article. There’s a “je ne sais quoi” about “passages couverts” which draws me to them. Thanks for a great posting!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 10, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      You’re welcome. Yes, they are pretty unique.

  • Reply
    Kristin Henning
    May 12, 2016 at 11:49 am

    This is great to have a directory of the passageways in Paris! I’ve only enjoyed them by stumbling on them unexpectedly, and then I’m usually rushed, on my way to somewhere else. Next time in Paris, I’ll look for these – as a destination!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 12, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      I used to do the same thing. I made a concerted effort to seek out these places and spend some “quality time” there.

  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    May 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    I love these photos! They remind me of the Galleria in Milan~

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Those so true. I haven’t been to Milan but I’ve seen pictures of the Galleria.

  • Reply
    Bola
    May 14, 2016 at 7:04 am

    These passages have brought back lovely memories to me. Walking through them are perfect ways to while away the time. Of course there’s no such thing as boredom in Paris!

    • Reply
      Jan
      May 14, 2016 at 11:09 am

      So true. Every time I visit Paris I find new things to see.

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