Located in one of the beautiful passages in the 2nd arrondissement, Passage Choiseul, is a papeterie called Lavrut, where I picked up some "moleskine" notebooks, the kind Hemingway used, for Mr. Connolly and a pink pen with fluffy feathers on the end for my daughter. I know moleskin notebooks may be purchased in the US but it's just more fun to purchase them in Paris. Besides, they wrap them up so beautifully if you tell them "un cadeaux, s'il vous plait".
I love shopping in these little shops that only the locals seem to know!
What to buy: I purchased blank, lined, a graph lined moleskine notebooks along with a fun pink pen with fluffy feathers! Perfect for inexpensive gift items.
Photos: February 2006
Modern French floral design is one of the delights of looking in Paris shop windows.
You can pay a lot of money for a class at The Ritz Hotel, or you can come here and make your own arrangement from the artifical flowers on display !!!
What to pay: Such an experience is not inexpensive, but would be a wonderful introduction to the French view of flower arranging.
This tiny shop is adjacent to Pain d'Epice (see my previous tip).
Outdoor there is a collection of mecanisms of music box, you can make working turning the handle.
Indoor, strolling in the narrow aisles, have a look at the amazing miniatures : furnitures for doll house, tiny tea sets and copper cake pans. Everything you have at home but which is missing in your daughter's doll house.
What to pay: The little things are more expensive than the large ones.
GALERIE VERO DODAT WAS BUILT IN 1826 AND NAMED AFTER ITS OWNERS.. A PAIR OF CHARCUTIERS ( BUTCHERS ).
ONLY A STONES THROW FROM THE LOUVRE, THIS WAS ONCE ONE OF MANY SUCH PASSAGES IN THE AREA THAT RAN FROM LES HALLES TO THE PALAIS ROYAL.
GALERIE VERO DODAT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES IN PARIS TO BE LIT BY GAS..
GAS LIGHTS WERE PLACED ABOVE MIRRORS FOR BEST EFFECT IN THE DAYS BEFORE ELECTRICITY..
FULLY RESTORED IN 1980 THIS IS A LOVELY OLD PLACE TO WANDER THROUGH AND GAZE AT ITS UNIFORMED STOREFRONTS AND PRETTY BLACK AND WHITE TILED FLOOR.
SHOPS IN THE GALERIE SELL THINGS LIKE OLD FASHIONED TOYS AND LEATHER GOODS.. BUT THE SHOP TO LOOK OUT FOR IS ROBERT CAPIA'S ANTIQUE DOLL SHOP.
THESE OLD PASSAGES ARE A GREAT PLACE TO SPEND SOME TIME WHEN THE WEATHER IS NOT BEING KIND..PLUS YOU GET AN INSIGHT INTO HOW PARIS USED TO SHOP.
What to buy: ANTIQUE DOLLS
OLD FASHIONED TOYS
BACK IN 1828 PARIS HAD LOADS OF SHOPPING PASSAGES (ARCADES) THESE UNDERCOVER SHOPS WERE BUILT TO SAVE PEDESTRIANS FROM MUD AND HORSE-DRAWN VEHICLES..
WELL OF THE 137 THAT WERE AROUND IN 1828 ONLY ABOUT 28 REMAIN TODAY.
OVER THE YEARS LOTS OF THEM FELL INTO DISREPAIR AND WERE LEFT TO ROT AND CRUMBLE.
IN RECENT YEARS THESE PASSAGES HAVE GOT A NEW LEASE OF LIFE AND MANY HAVE BEEN RESTORED TO THEIR FORMER GLORY.. ONE OF THOSE IS PASSAGE VIVIENNE.
THE ENTRANCE TO PASSAGE VIVIENNE IS EASY TO MISS BUT ONCE INSIDE YOU ARE TRANSPORTED BACK TO AN AGE LONG FORGOT.. THIS IS ONE OF THE POSHEST PASSAGES IN PARIS AND IS A REAL TREAT TO WALK THROUGH AND ADMIRE ITS SPLENDER.
VIVIENNE HAS SHOPS RANGING FROM THE LIBRAIRIE JOUSSEAUME BOOKSTORE--SILK SCARVES AT WOLFF ET DESCOURTIS--AND A LOVELY 1830'S STYLE BRASSERIE.
BUT REMEMBER WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE LOVELY SHOP FRONTS TO ALSO REMEMBER TO LOOK BOTH AT THE FLOOR AT PASSAGE VIVIENNE'S STUNNING MOSAIC FLOOR'S AND UP TO THE CEILING TO ADMIRE THE GLASS ROTUNDA...
WHEN BARON HAUSSMAN CLEARED MOST OF PARIS TO MAKE WAY FOR THE GRAND BOULEVARDS ITS NICE TO KNOW THAT SOME OF OLD PARIS IS STILL AROUND TO VIEW AND ADMIRE TO THIS DAY...
AND YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THESE LITTLE HAVENS FROM THE TRAFFIC ARE NEEDED AS MUCH NOW AS THEY WERE BACK IN 1828... ENJOY.
What to buy: SILK SCARVES
The elegant glass-roofed shopping arcade can be seen in many cities. But the earliest and the most interesting variety can be found in just one place - Paris. The Passages de Paris is architectural survivors from a very specific period - just 60 years span the first and last and only 19 survive today.
• Galerie Véro-Dodat (Between rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs and rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau).
• Galerie Colbert and Vivienne (passages linking rue Vivienne with rue des Petits-Champs)
• Passage Choiseul (between rue des Petits-Champs and rue St-Augustin)
• Passage des Panoramas (north of Bibliothèque Nationale, beyond rue St-Marc)
• Passage Jouffroy and Verdeau (across boulevard Montmartre)
Located near Saint Lazare station, Passage du Havre is a good alternative for shopping as you can find in one place a lot of renowned brands (Zara, Etam, H&M).
Easily accessible, it is not very crowded (at least in the week days).
What to buy: Women / Men Clothes
Bath and beauty products
What to pay: Affordable prices.
Not all of the old shopping "passages" are upscale and elegant -- but even those that aren't, are full of fascinating shops and little cafes.
Passage Verdeau was built at the same time as Passage Jouffroy in 1847 by the same architects.
Galerie Vivienne was built between between 1823 and 1826.
It is one of the most elegant of the passages near Palais Royal -- here you can see the care that is taken with the maintenance.
What to buy: Obviously the shops and cafes are also very elegant! Among them are Cave Lucien Legrand filles et fils, where you can buy wine and eat a lunch in chic surroundings; The beautiful artificial flowers of Emilio Robba ; and " A Priori The ", a tearoom with great incredible hot chocolate and superior scones.
Forget the computers and the electronic games and play as our grand parents played.
Pain d'Epice sells traditional toys hand made with wood and paper.
You will find several doll houses and an incredible collection of tiny furniture.
If you are in love with the wooden toys go there : the wooden rocking horse is great.
There are also a large range of mecanisms for music box.
What to buy: Toys and toys.
What to pay: Everything there is rare. So everything is expensive.
But you can look, it is free.
Walking through Paris’s departments stores I remembered about the novel of Emil Zola “Ladies Paradise” (sorry for title translating – I read the novel in Russian translation) – customer feels like long awaited.
The covered passages, or galeries, in Paris are among the first enclosed "shopping centers". You will find them in the 1st, 2nd and 9th for the most part. They vary from the fancy to the ordinary and provide a nice slice of Parisian life.
What to buy: Depending on the economic "scale" of the passage -- you will find almost anything from old postcards and "antiques", to very upscale wine bars.
There are a few of these old-time shopping galleries around Paris, linking the streets. They're usually specialized in antiques, used books or collectibles in general, and some have really beautiful designs.
M. Capia's curio shop is known for its antique doll collection. The Galerie Vero-Dodat gets its name from the two butchers that started it in 1824.