The Paris passages are perfect for hiding from the heat in August or the cold wind in November. These very special places will surprise you pleasantly with their Parisian charm and calm atmosphere.
Why Visit Paris Passages in Paris
As opposed to the super crowded popular tourist spots in Paris, the passages are not only still less popular among the tourists but also difficult to find. You will find their entrances hidden between shops and restaurants.
Go on a treasure hunt!
First of all to find the entrances of these covered passages is somewhat like a treasure hunt. Because of the difficulty to find the entrances, when you finally enter, the artistic atmosphere of the place will amaze you because of the difference with the noisy Parisian boulevards outside.
Paris passages have specialities
Although the logical similarities, each passage is different and has its speciality. One accommodates numerous antique bookshops; another is a centre of shops for collectables as postage stamps.
Paris’ history learning
Like everything in Paris, the passages also have an interesting story and the construction of some of them is dated back to 1800.
For the architecture of course!
The architectural and decorative elements of the passages are eye-catching and typically French. The styles vary between Belle Époque, Art nouveau and neoclassical. Magnificent mosaics accompanied by lace wrought iron and covered by beautiful glass roof make these hidden spots number one on my list of what-should-be-seen in Paris.
A Short History of Paris Passages
At first, their construction started at the beginning of the 19th century in order to create covered spaces for commerce. The other reason was to use the empty space between buildings as Paris was expanding significantly in this period. In 1850 in Paris were working 150 passages from which now only 10 still exist and are open to the public.
The Best Of Paris Passages
From the ten of the passages that still exist, these are the most interesting to visit.
Passage des Panoramas
This was the first passage that I’ve visited after the stroll around Montmartre with my friend Mimi. One of its entrances is from 11 Boulevard Montmartre. This passage is the centre of the philately trade in Paris and you can find a few shops specializing in this matter. For the noninterested in collecting post stamps, I recommend stopping for a short lunch in “L’Arbre à Canelle” (“Cinnamon tree”). The chocolate producer Francois Marquis for his firm “Maison Marquis” had used the premises of the restaurant in the past. The decoration in the interior and exterior is kept close to the initial look from the middle of the 19th century. The food is delicious and together with the service gives you good value for your money. The salads are refreshing and the desserts tempting.
In this passage, you will see candy shops and pastries which will not let you impartial. Beautifully decorated boxes and tempting with its colours petit fours are filling the shop windows. Hotel Chopin’s entrance makes the atmosphere even brighter with a cosy lobby which is visible through the glass doors. You can access the Grevin Museum (wax museum founded in 1882) from the passage. Different figures decorate its entrance and contribute to the artistic identity of the passage.
This Parisian passage is the third which I visited. It is the most stylishly luxurious of all and its decor can easily be used for a film from the Belle Époque. The flagmanship of the fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier is located in the gallery since 1986, and today there are several shops for clothing and decorative items for the home. Wolff & Descourtis offers designer fabrics and enchants the senses with colours, glitter and plenty of imagination.
The charm of this passage is in its richly decorated interior with magnificent arches, Greek statues, green cypress trees and neat tables of the cafes and restaurants around. A Priori Thé is at one of the exits and seems to be frequented by the locals, for meetings over a cup of tea. If you want to experience French luxury Galerie Vivienne is your place.
To see the locations of all Paris passages, check this map.
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