Beautiful Covered Passages-Les Passages Couverts In Paris

Gotta love the French. Innovative and stylish. In the 18th and 19th century they were ingenious too when the covered passages in Paris (“les passages couverts”) 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 (also called ‘galeries”) with a roof. They were beautifully designed passages each with unique characteristics in the Belle Epoque style.

[Updated August 6, 2023]

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

If you’d prefer a guided visit to some of the passages, consider this tour: Paris: Covered Passages Walking Tour.

 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 on Boulevard Montmartre and is the oldest.  It has numerous entrances and corridors. I actually got lost (easy for me to do) finding my way out. It was the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817. There is a hip wine/lounge bar, “Coinstot Vino” where I had drinks with a friend. The price was reasonable and the bar is known for its natural wines.

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, Musee 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 wax figures! 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

Passage du Grand Cerf (2nd arr)

Passage du Grand Cerf, Paris (J. Chung)
Passage du Grand Cerf, Paris (J. Chung)
Passage du Grand Cerf, Paris (J. Chung)
Passage du Grand Cerf, Paris (J. Chung)

When I rented an apartment near rue Montorgueil, I took a friend to Passage du Grand Cerf nearby. It is one of the largest arcades (39 feet high) in Paris and what’s unique is the glass roof that has daylight streaming through.  There are artisan boutiques and stores selling more unique items like large vintage letters and customized jewelry.

Nearest Metro: Etienne Marcel

Galerie Vero-Dodat (1st arr)

Galerie Vero-Dodat, Paris (J. Chung)
Galerie Vero-Dodat, Paris (J. Chung)
Galerie Vero-Dodat, Paris (J. Chung)
Galerie Vero-Dodat, Paris (J. Chung)

This arcade has the flagship Christian Louboutin store as well as small shops and restaurants. It is located near the Musee du Louvre and has decorative tiles and ceiling designs worth noting.

Nearest Metro: Palais-Royal Musee du Louvre

Passage de Choiseul (2nd arr)

Passage de Choiseul -Paris (J. Chung)
Passage de Choiseul -Paris (J. Chung)
Passage de Choiseul -Paris (J. Chung)
Passage de Choiseul -Paris (J. Chung)

There are three entrances to this passage which is located between the Rue Saint-Augustin and the Rue des Petits-Champs. It has numerous restaurants and sadly one of my favourites, Le Petit Choiseul, closed last year. It is not quite as fancy as some of the other covered passages yet it is said to be the longest in Paris, measuring 190 metres long.

Nearest Metro: Quatre-Septembre

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

Le Grand Colbert-Paris (J. Chung)
Le Grand Colbert-Paris (J. Chung)

Passage Colbert

The brasserie, Le Grand Colbert, is located here at Passage Colbert. It was featured in the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves. In the Galerie Colbert the focal point is the glass dome which was built in 1826. The entrance is off Rue des Petits Champs, just 30 metres west of Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement.

Nearest Metro: Bourse

Passage Brady

There is a strong Indian influence, with Indian restaurants and stores selling Indian spices. This arcade is accessible from two major streets, Boulevard de Strasbourg and 43 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement. One part is under a roof and the other part is in the open air.

Nearest Metro: Chateau d’Eau

Don’t Bother Visiting These Passages

Passage du Chantier-Paris (J. Chung)
Passage du Chantier-Paris (J. Chung)

Passage du Chantier-(9Z Passage du Chantier in the 12th arrondissement) is near the Bastille. I was also disappointed with this passage even though it had a nice cobblestone pathway. It primarily has ateliers (studios and workshops), and upholstery and furniture repair stores.

Passage Vendome-(16-18 Rue Béranger) is run down and while there are a few shops in this short passageway, it could use a makeover. It is in the 3rd arrondissement, near the Republique Metro.

There are many uncovered and covered passages in Paris (“passages couverts Paris”) and I’ll continue to update this post to add more that are worth visiting (and not worth visiting).

Map Showing Locations Of The Covered Passages And Galleries

Covered Passages in Paris Map

Click on the map or on this link and you’ll be directed to a Google Map indicating all the places in this post.

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC, used with permission.

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The Beautiful Covered Passages-Les Passages Couverts In Paris

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  1. Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields says:

    These look so lovely. What fun to explore them.

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

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

  3. Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty says:

    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!

    1. And perfect for exploring on a rainy day.

  4. 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!

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

  5. Karen Warren says:

    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.

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

  6. Sue Reddel says:

    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.

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

  7. 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.

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

  8. Carole Terwilliger Meyers says:

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

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

  9. Donna Janke says:

    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.

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

  10. Denis Gagnon says:

    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!

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

  11. Kristin Henning says:

    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!

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

  12. Irene S. Levine says:

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

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

  13. 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!

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