Covered Passageways of Paris
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THE FASHIONABLE PLACE TO SHOP IN PARIS at the beginning of the 19th century was the covered passageway.
Urban developers created over 150 covered passageways, offering warm, inviting shopping destinations, all under one beautiful glass roof.
One could leave their home by horse and carriage, arrive directly at a covered passageway, have their shoes dusted and shop in comfort, away from the outside elements of rain and muddy sidewalks, in much the same way of a conventional shopping centre of today.
Later years saw the demise of the passageway after the development of department stores and the covered passageways lost their popularity.
Sadly, many were demolished during Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment of Paris to make way for the wide boulevards and the remaining passageways fell into disrepair.
Thankfully, today quite a few of Paris’ covered passageways are protected, world heritage sites and some have seen extensive renovations, bringing them back to their former glory.
Paris has approximately 25 covered passageways remaining.
Many are renovated and elegant, with mosaic flooring, ambient lighting, brass fixtures, spectacular pitched glass ceilings and chic shops, others a little worse for wear or another with an unusual Egyptian façade.
You could spend an entire day weaving your way through the historic covered passageways of Paris.
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Below you will find some of the 25 Covered Passages of Paris, each with practical information to help you explore and plan your journey.
- Passage du Grand CerfNatural light drenches this elegant passageway from its 12 metre high glass ceiling with unique boutiques.
- Passage du Bourg l’AbbéSubtle and elegant pastel interior, muted by natural light from the unusual curved glass ceiling.
- Le Passage des PrincesAmber lamps, giving off a warm, golden glow, with a beautiful glass ceiling, the entire passageway is dedicated to toys.
- Passage du PradoRarely mentioned in travel guides, with not a tourist in sight, this unique passage was once in the heart of fashionable Paris.
- Passage VerdeauExplore antiques, rare books and vintage postcards beneath the elegant, neoclassical, glass ceiling, then continue over the road to Passage Jouffroy.
- Passage JouffroySift through old books at the famous bookstore; Librairie Paul Vulin as you walk upon geometric black, white and grey tiles and discover the quaint Hotel Chopin.
- Passage des PanoramasBuilt in 1799 and inspired by the Oriental Souks, Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest passageways in the world.
- Passage du CaireA unique façade, a magnificent glass ceiling, 360 metres in length, Passage du Caire is the oldest and longest Passage in Paris
- Passage de l’AncreWho would know a delightful, tranquil little piece of paradise could be hidden away behind an unassuming crooked doorway in the heart of Paris.