Secret Passages of Paris

I felt completely at home in my petite Paris studio located inside the building that is part of a Passage in Paris; but where was I really? I had stepped back in time and into one of the charming locations that make Paris so special, the PASSAGE.

The stories of the secret passages of Paris must surely include their unique place in history as the first “shopping malls” in the world; its a miracle they have survived to the modern day. They are located in various places on the RIGHT BANK and a product of the Industrial Revolution and real estate boom of the early to mid 19th centuries. Women who were married to bankers, real estate agents and other officials of the Paris elite wanted to spend their money in a safe and socially acceptable locations. These covered passages included restaurants, jewelers, booksellers and other specialty shops conveniently located beneath glass and iron structures that allowed the light in and the bad weather out. There was a period in time when only the booksellers or antique dealers remained but the fashion world has recently helped to revive these unique locations. Here are my personal favorites and worth the trip, others have fallen into disrepair, though many are also on the “upswing” with renovations. The most elegant and my favorite are the PASSAGE VERDOU where I recently lived for a week and the lovely GALERIE VIVIENNE. On a fashion note, Jean Paul Gaultier recently de-camped from the GV but ALEXIS MABILE has taken up residence bringing the fashion polish and exclusivity back to this famous location. I saw his gorgeous show last year and his clothes designed for the elegant women of Paris and around the world are displayed in the window for you to peer through the glass in wonder.

Here are some of the most well known PASSAGES and the addresses of where you can see them for yourself and also there are special tours available as well.

Galerie Vivienne

Park, garden, promenade

4 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris, 75002. The Restaurants at the Galerie Vivienne are worth noting, and typically elegant French bistro style locations with loads of history on Front side of Galerie is a more casual bistro and inside is a bistro that puts the B in French Bistro.

Passage Verdeau

Park, garden, promenade

31 Rue de Foubourg de Monmartre, Paris, 75009. I hung out here alot and the book sellers and poster shops give you an idea of what is in most of the Passages in the last 100 years, as well as antique shops.

Galerie Colbert

Park, garden, promenade

4 rue Vivienne, Paris, 75002

Built in 1823, Galerie Colbert is a short walk from its main rival, Galerie Vivienne. The infamous DIANE KEATON names restaurant from her movie, “Le Grand Colbert” is nearby.

Galerie Véro-Dodat

Park, garden, promenade

19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris, 75001

Passage Jouffroy

Park, garden, promenade

10-12 boulevard Montmartre, Paris, 75009 Filled with the magic of toy shops and purveyors of specialities, jewelry and delights. THe HOTEL CHOPIN is at the end of this passage. What a mystery that must be!

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