Passageways in Paris

Covered Passageways of Paris

historic covered passageway paris mall shopping arcades

* * *

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.

* * *

Below you will find some of the 25 Covered Passages of Paris, each with practical information to help you explore and plan your journey.

  • Le Passage des Princes
    Le Passage des Princes
    Amber lamps, giving off a warm, golden glow, with a beautiful glass ceiling, the entire passageway is dedicated to toys.
  • Passage Verdeau
    Passage Verdeau
    Explore antiques, rare books and vintage postcards beneath the elegant, neoclassical, glass ceiling, then continue over the road to Passage Jouffroy.
  • Passage Jouffroy
    Passage Jouffroy
    Sift 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 Panoramas
    Passage des Panoramas
    Built in 1799 and inspired by the Oriental Souks, Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest passageways in the world.
  • Passage du Caire
    Passage du Caire
    A unique façade, a magnificent glass ceiling, 360 metres in length, Passage du Caire is the oldest and longest Passage in Paris
  • Passage du Grand Cerf
    Passage du Grand Cerf
    Natural light drenches this elegant passageway from its 12 metre high glass ceiling with unique boutiques.
  • Passage du Prado
    Passage du Prado
    Rarely mentioned in travel guides, with not a tourist in sight, this unique passage was once in the heart of fashionable Paris.
  • Passage du Bourg l’Abbé
    Passage du Bourg l’Abbé
    Subtle and elegant pastel interior, muted by natural light from the unusual curved glass ceiling.
  • Passage de l’Ancre
    Passage de l’Ancre
    Who would know a delightful, tranquil little piece of paradise could be hidden away behind an unassuming crooked doorway in the heart of Paris.

If you have found this information interesting or useful, please leave a comment or follow me on facebook for daily tips, photos and anecdotes, your feedback encourages me to keep this site up to date. Merci!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.