Les Passages Couverts
Paris is of course famous for its world class shopping and café culture, however, most people who visit the city for the first time head straight to the Champs Élysées and fail to experience the city’s less touristic side. For this, one need only venture slightly off the beaten path to one of Paris’s quaint Passages Couverts.
These covered alley-ways house a wide variety of shops, cafés, bars, salons, bakeries, and even some hotels. Unlike Paris’s larger shopping venues, the elegant charm of these galleries will transport back through time and leave you with a nostalgic yearning for times past.
These passages, created in the 18th and 19th centuries, are well known for being architectural treasures due to the glass ceilings that shield those beneath them from the rain. They were the world’s predecessors to modern day shopping malls. These galleries are the perfect place to spend the day exploring, shopping, and unwinding with a drink on one of Paris’s less sunny days. Below, you will find a list of some of our favourites!
Passage des Panoramas
The Passage des Panoramas was first opened in the year 1834. It has maintained its bustling, vibrant personality ever since. It is arguably the most unique of all Paris’s covered galleries. It is filled with restaurants, bars, vintage stores, and trendy boutiques.
For a unique dining experience, check out the quirky Victoria Station… where you can dine in what looks like an old train carriage! Passage des Panoramas is perfect for anyone who only has time to see one or two of Paris’s many passages couverts. Good luck though, after having seen one of them you will have a hard time resisting the urge to explore more!
Built after Passage des Panoramas, Passage Verdeau came to be in 1847 and comes complete with a magnificent cradled glass roof. The crowds begin to thin out here and you can easily spend an afternoon meandering through the quaint antique shops found here. The antique furniture here is either really well maintained, or has been restored to mint condition.
If antiques aren’t your thing… don’t worry… there are also fantastic comic book shops that house many rare titles. So allow yourself to get lost between isles of bookshelves stacked high.. you never know what you might stumble upon!
Immediately after stepping through the doors of Passage des Panoramas you will be greeted by Passage Jouffroy. This shopping gallery was built, like Passage Verdeau in 1847. This gallery hosts numerous fantastic shops and, even more excitingly, the Musée Grevin waxwork museum!
The Hotel Chopin lies at the end of this Passage. While not exactly a five star hotel, this chic, charming boutique style hotel is remarkably affordable given its fantastic location. Imagine walking out of your front door and into this picturesque, shop-lined alleyway. Not only that, but its also conveniently located just minutes from the Opéra!
Passage Choiseul, while less flashy than its neighbors, is jam packed with a lot of great discount clothing stores, and affordable restaurants for those of you who are looking for a less expensive shopping experience.
Unlike its neighboring galleries, this shopping centre is less aesthetically appealing and a little less affluent, however there are some really fantastic restaurants here and the best part is they won’t break the bank!
For a complete list of all the covered galleries in Paris please see here.