If you have a rainy day in Paris (not unusual), visit some of the wonderful old galleries and passages. These glass-covered streets were built in the 1800 and 1900s and many have been restored to their original glory. They are fun to visit with shops and restaurants . . . and no rain.
We happened into Gallerie Vivienne completely by accident wandering around looking for a restaurant recommended by a friend. We had decided to stay on the Right Bank for a change and weren't close to all the places we knew. Fortunately we had our trusty "Paris Pratique" map booklet with us so not only did we find the restaurant, we found our first Paris Gallerie or Passage.
There are several all over the city but the one we happened into was Gallerie Vivienne at 6 rue Vivienne not far from our hotel by the Palais Royal Gardens. The Gallerie web site is gone but there is a nice article on Wikipedia about it and it's worth a look. Gallerie Vivienne by Wikipedia
There is a list of all the galleries and their locations at the web site listed below. Enjoy.
Strange to find this passage in the very chic avenue Victor Hugo, almost unknown and very difficult to find much info about the place. It's already unusual to find a brick-fronted building in the 16th, let alone on this avenue. Constructed in 1904 on two levels, apparently to make it more viable, for the account of a Senor Mayol de Senillosa, an Argentine. So now we know where the name comes from!!! Quite light and airy inside although not many people. As there didn't seem much going on I didn't venture upstairs. The most interesting shop is the "Bal Masqué" where you can hire your costumes for the Carnival or a fancy dress do.
Found at : 111 avenue Victor Hugo, Paris 75016.
Victor Hugo is the closest metro.
Another passage of luxury, first opened in 1845 by the same company that owned Passage Jouffroy. One of the shortest of the covered passages in Paris (only 53 metres), it owes much to its natural lighting and also to the fact that one of the oldest restaurants of Paris, Lucas Carton, had its place here.
The cité Berryer, now known as the passage Royale was first driven through here in 1745 when the marché d'Aguesseau was moved here and named passagedu marché d'Aguesseau. Apparently butchers, both beef and pork, at end where it touches rue Boissy d'Anglas, and fishmongers, bakers and fruitsellers at the opposite end near rue Royale. Renamed Cité Berryer in 1877 after a well-known politician. Renovated just 20 years ago, it has been turned into a very "chic" place to be seen, mainly by well-heeled tourists rather than Parisians.
With a large and rich history in glass manufacturing, Baccarat is a respected name. If you pass by the United States square, you may enter and see a couple of great pieces, well displayed in a beautiful palace. I must confess That I expected more, and took a morning expressly to go there.
Somewhat disappointed, but I didn't regret the time.
Why do they forbid to take pictures inside? There's no risk to the pieces, and copying models will not be stopped nor limited by boring the tourists!
Being built in 1799/1800 Passage des Panoramas is almost the oldest of Parisian passages still in existence (oldest being passage du Caire) others built in the 1700's all having been demolished or built over. Passage des Panoramas is known for its shops and collections of stamps and postcards, so if you want a p/c that dates, this is the place to come. The world famous engraver Stern's shop is on the list of historic monuments whilst the passage is described in Hugo's book "Nana".
Nearest metro is Grands Boulevards or Richelieu-Drouot.
Well known to Parisians this passage was opened in 1845 and was the first passage constructed entirely in iron and glass, and is also the first to have underfloor heating. Well placed between passages Verdeau and Panorama it also has the entrance to the Parisian equivalent of Mme Tussauds, Musee Grevin that was inaugurated in 1882. Frederic Chopin lived in the house where the "Hotel Chopin" is situated up on the 5th floor around 1832/32. Just in front of the entrances to the hotel and Musee Grevin is a staircase built to overcome differences in levels probably due to the ancient moat and walls of Louis XIII passing close by.
Nearest metro is Grands Boulevards or Richelieu-Drouot.
Ancestors of the big malls, this passages are galleries along corridors, connecting streets and providing covered access to several shops.
There are many in Paris, still with the old functionality, and some of them really beautiful.
This passage, built in 1847 at the same time as its counterpert, passage Jouffroy and by the same company has always suffered by not being close enough to the "Grands Boulevards" although it did take off for a while when the "Hotel Drouot", the Sothebys of Paris, opened its doors close by. A good many antique dealers then set up here. The old photographic shop has been there since 1901.
Richelieu-Drouot is the nearest metro.
One of the most used and loved of the Parisian passages, Passage Choiseul has practically not changed in almost 200 years, even the entrance canopies,although slightly battered, are the originals since 1825. At 190 metres it is one of the longest in Paris. Having a secondary entrance into the theatre "Les Bouffes Parisiens" helps to maintain a certain ambiance in the passage. Owned once by Offenbach the theatre is now the property of French actor Jean-Claude Brialy. Main entrances are at 40 rue des Petits-Champs and 23 rue St. Augustin.
Closed on Sundays.
Closest metro is Pyramides or Quatre-Septembre
First built in 1826 to build upon the success of the Galerie Vivienne practically next door. Unfortunately it never reached the same level of prosperity and went out of favour in 1830 to finally be virtually abandoned in 1860. Having been bought by the National Library, to which it backs onto, it has been renovated and re-opened to the public. The only shops are those of the Library and a restaurant. It does have a splendid piece of glasswork over the rotunda with a bronze statue of Eurydice beneath it. It can be entered from no 6 rue des Petits-Champs or rue Vivienne.
Bourse is the closest metro
The passage du Caire is Paris' oldest covered passage and is also its longest. Measuring around 360 metres in total, having 4 branches and was constructed in 1798 after Napoleons campaign in Egypt. The most striking thing about the passage is the facade giving onto the place du Caire. Ornamented by 3 heads of the goddess Hathor surmounted further by some lovely bas-reliefs. Up above, over the 5th floor can be seen a caricature of Bouginier, a painter, done by collegues mocking his nasal appendice. The passage these days is pretty run down and is used in the main by wholesalers from the rag-trade.
Nearest metro is Sentier.
The "Passage du Grand Cerf" is one of the prettiest in Paris. With its 3 floors and heighth of the glass roof at 11,80 metres it is the highest of Paris. It has 33 shops mainly dedicated to decoration and antiques, but does also have a brazilian restaurant. Built in 1835, this was the departure point for the postal wagons.
Etienne Marcel is the nearest metro station.
These are a number of early 19th C shopping arcades, the best of which are in the Opera Quarter. The longest of these starts off Rue du Faubourg Montmartre just south of Rue Richer / Rue de Province. This is the Passage Verdeau which becomes the Passage Jouffroy and eventually the Passage des Panoramas. There are all manner of shops and small cafés. There are a number of other passages and galeries but the above is the best for exploring. If you want upmarket shopping and a taste of the passages, try the Galeries Colbert & Vivienne. If you are near the Pompidou Centre, there are a few passages off Rue Reaumur near the Arts et Metiers Metro Station. A visit to Paris is not complete for us without at least one walk through some of these arcades.
Passage created in 1828 as a continuation between the passages "Grand-Cerf" and "de l'Ancre", lost some of its original length in 1858 when Blvd. Sebastopol was opened at one end and rue Palestro at the other. At the rue Palestro entrance there are still two "cariatides" that represent Industry and Commerce. These were sculpted by Aime Millet in 1863. Unfortunately the passage has suffered fire damage, and although renovated, pales in compararison to others, so much so that there is only one artisan left still operating in the passage.
Closest metro is Etienne Marcel.