Covered Passages in Paris

Are you looking for a unique gift? Does it seem like you’ve looked everywhere but can’t find just what you are after anywhere? Well that might all change when you take a stroll through some of the most spectacular covered passages in Paris. Forget Champs Élysées and venture slightly off the beaten path and shop in one of Paris’s quaint covered arcades.

Take your time exploring, shopping and unwinding, perusing the local specialty jewellers and vintage toy outlets. These will not only be a delight for children, but also for adults who are children at heart.

We could have easily spent hours in the antique book stores leafing through the yellowed pages with the smell of history permeating from the parchment. 

And after you are all shopped out rest your weary legs and enjoy a quiet coffee and pastry in the many tearooms and restaurants. Just make sure you take the time to pause and enjoy the beauty and elegant charm of some of most beautiful covered passages in Paris. These arcades transported us back through time and gave us a nostalgic yearning for times past.

To fully appreciate these spectacular galleries you must look up to see the architectural features of glass and wrought iron. But don’t just hold your head high walking through these old world arcades. The beautifully intricate mosaic floors running through the entire arcades are the only reason to look down.

These must see, typically Parisian arcades were designed to offer impeccably dressed lady shoppers refuge from the dust, rain and noise from the streets, sheltered by a magnificent glass canopy allowing the light to shine in.

In Paris there is a labyrinth of covered passages, each with their own unique characteristics and old world galleries. Some are tucked away and you have to hunt them down, but if you know where to look you can walk into an art nouveau galerie perfect for hours of browsing.

 

Passage des Panoramas is the oldest commercial artery dating back to 1799 and the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas. Listed as a historical monument the walkways house a chocolatier, stamp collector, printing house, even a theatre amongst the eateries and craftsmen sharing the space. There is also the quirky Victoria Station where you dine in an absolutely gorgeous, old style, velvet lined train carriage styled from the Orient Express.

Galerie Vivienne is one of the most beautiful and iconic and includes tea rooms, gourmet food boutique, antique bookshop, wine cellar and more. We found many students, probably art of architecture students, sketching the century old architecture. The arches, moldings, skylights, even the floors are all so worthy to sketch.

Passage Verdeau has many antique stores selling books, postcards, cameras and comics from the 50s. Designed with avante-garde architectural details and has a high glass canopy which resembles fish bones. Strolling down Passage Brady, known as Little India is an aromatic journey with many Indian, Pakistani and exotic businesses and is a great place for some tasty, spicy food. 

Passage Jouffroy is one of the most visited arcades due to its originality. The famous wax museum Musée Grévin and Salon des Miroirs are all worth a visit. At the end of this picturesque, shop lined passageway is Hôtel Chopin, a chic and charming boutique hotel. A special touch was to mooch around in the original shops selling old canes, books and the unmissable tea room Valentin with its delightfully tasty pastries.

These arcades are the place for strollers and curious walkers to discover pretty shops selling hand crafted jewellery, furniture, fashion, even umbrellas or walking sticks.

Whilst we were there, the windows were purposely dressed for Christmas and the smell of Christmas treats bought cheer to our rainy day. These arcades were the perfect place to take a shortcut and shelter from the rain and true architectural gems.

To me there is nothing average about Paris, not even cold, grey, rainy days. These are days that are perfect to browse around the lovely covered passages and beautiful places to escape the winter chill. After all, Paris is a city to be admired, a place to wander and observe city life. These covered passages are perfect for the Parisian pastime of the flaneur, especially in inclement weather.

I love the Parisian sense of style. In Paris a cheese sandwich is never just a cheese sandwich, it’s always an experience. So too is window shopping in the covered passages, leisurely exploring and discovering old places in and around the city.

A word of caution. While most galleries are clearly marked, some are that inconspicuous you could easily walk straight past some secret passages. You could take a tour, we found one that does a private, half day tour for 250€, but you can easily add exploring the passages at your leisure to your list of things in Paris to do for free. Download a map and spend the afternoon meandering through the quaint antique shops and escape the rain and relax with a meal or glass of wine.

These covered glass and iron arcades offer endless delights with quirky, nostalgic shops and provide a glimpse of what Parisian life was like over 100 years ago. They are also the perfect place to find that unique gift you were after.

Do you have a favourite arcade in Paris? Which one would you find hard to stop going back to? Do you want to explore these unusual passages that give Paris its charm!

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Lou Messugo

 

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28 Responses

  1. This post males me so nostalgic of Paris! I remember walking through the Passage des Panoramas many moons ago, such a special place. I’d love to check out the Passage Brady for its Asian shops and restaurants.
    #AllAboutFrance

  2. Your enthusiasm for these lovely passageways just oozes through your words and photos and makes me ache to be in Paris right now. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…Transhumance, Autumn and a Hill-Top VillageMy Profile

  3. Ah, the covered passages. My favourite way to spend a rainy day in Paris. #AllAboutFrance

  4. Hilary says:

    Wonderful! I’ve been to Paris three times, and it always amazes me at how much there is to see and do… I can’t believe I didn’t know to visit these passages… I love picking up holiday decor when traveling and those holiday decorations definitely caught my eye! #allaboutfrance
    Hilary recently posted…Chasing the Light in Upper Antelope CanyonMy Profile

  5. Cadu says:

    They’ll be probably cheaper and exclusive gifts than those you can buy in the touristic areas. Thank you very much for the tip!
    Cadu recently posted…Como entrar de graça no Museu do Louvre + 9 museus da EuropaMy Profile

  6. Paris is so romantic and stunning, Lyn! Your post was so amazing and motivational!
    Agness of Fit Travelling recently posted…Ultra Marathons – What, When, Why and How?My Profile

  7. NTripping says:

    Hey Lyn,

    those photos are stunning! I love the geometry of the tiles on the floors. I can look at the patterns and the colours for hours 🙂 Definitely adding some of the passages to my next Paris visit itinerary. Thanks for sharing this great tip!.

    Cheers, N.
    NTripping recently posted…3 Days In Paris: All The Tricks You Need To Avoid MadnessMy Profile

  8. These look amazing, the perfect excuse to hop on the Eurostar! #CityTripping

  9. The arcades are so beautiful. I have a bit of an urge to return to Paris and explore. Loved your photos! #citytripping

  10. I agree – the arcades are so beautiful and such wonderful treasure trove of shops, a real relic of another time. I do love the idea of being a flaneur, wandering at leisure through the city. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…Discovering Welsh legends in south west WalesMy Profile

  11. Covered passages – that’s genius, and some of them look just beautiful. But then, that’s Paris! We looked through several arcades and malls, and are always amazed at the decorating and architecture. Certainly nicer than our traditional “trip to the mall!” 😉
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…The Charming Medieval Village of ÈzeMy Profile

  12. Paris is such a wonderful city, with these bring back memories.

  13. Linda Bibb says:

    I absolutely adore your photos of the covered passages! I’ll confess that those vintage areas are one of my favorite things about Paris. Now I want to go back again.
    Linda Bibb recently posted…10 Australian Towns to Visit for a Genuine Outback ExperienceMy Profile

  14. I love these covered passages, and we have been to some of these that you have feature

  15. The covered passages of Paris look amazing and fun to shop. I pinned this for later so I can find the Passages on my next trip to Paris. Thanks for sharing 🙂 #weekendwanderlust

  16. Tracy says:

    I have been to Paris many times but have never been in one of the covered arcades – I will be next time though! I can’t believe what I have missed! They look so beautiful and my sort of place to have a wander!
    Tracy recently posted…A Virtual Cuppa – February 2017My Profile

  17. I love these places, great memories! I think I’ve been to just about all the covered passages in Paris, it was one of the first things I did on my second trip to Paris.
    Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats recently posted…How to Book Apartments Online: 24 Websites Like AirbnbMy Profile

  18. Laura says:

    I’ve been to Paris twice but didn’t know about any of these arcades when I was there. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to go back now! 🙂
    Laura recently posted…US 1: The Road That Started it AllMy Profile

  19. Laura says:

    I’ve been to Paris twice but didn’t know about these arcades when I was there. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to go back! 🙂

  20. Paris, Paris, Paris! It always impresses! Thanks for linking up! #wkendtravelinspiration

  21. Lolo says:

    Sadly, I’ve never been inside any of the covered passageways! But next time I’m in Paris, I’m staying longer than a few days and exploring more thoroughly! #wkendtravelinspiration

  22. budget jan says:

    Thanks for telling us about this. If we go to Paris again I’ll be sure to hunt them out. Love the photo of the two bicycles.

  23. Rhonda Albom says:

    These arcades are very impressive. I missed them when I was in Paris. Newer covered arcades are very open and try to minimise the iron frame by using larger sections on glass and plastic. There is something very luxurious and romantic about the iron and small glass windows.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Wandering the Streets of Muscat Oman: A Photo EssayMy Profile

  24. I’m sad that I missed this when I was in Paris! I love the beautiful ceiling, as well as the quaint stores!
    Bryna | Dotted Line Travels recently posted…10 Highlights from the Ruins of HerculaneumMy Profile

  25. Ruth says:

    Honestly, I had no idea places like these existed in Paris. I am kind of blow away since some look like the halls in a palace or big house. You can say you explore a very neat side of Paris! #WeekendWanderlust
    Ruth recently posted…Champagne: 9 Reasons to Visit this Region in FranceMy Profile

  26. Deborah says:

    What gorgeous shops so much to look at. I love the book shop and the cafe with the red check tablecloths.
    Deborah recently posted…Driving on the Right around Moorea, TahitiMy Profile

  1. March 5, 2017

    […] Block Arcade is opulent, heritage listed and arguably Melbourne’s finest example of 19th century shopping arcades. When it was built in 1892, during the boom time, Melbournians liked to be seen and would promenade […]

  2. October 6, 2017

    […] After you have admired the architecture from above, check out these incredible covered passages scattered throughout Paris. p.s. they’re FREE […]

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