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This morning I picked up a book purchased years ago when I was living in Paris. I suddenly felt the emotions, the smells, the sounds … like magic, I found myself in my beloved Galerie Vivienne, which for years has been a stage in my daily route from school to home in the first years and from home to work later.

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Walking itinerary through Parisian Passages Couverts

I used to leave my class at the IESA at number 5 avenue de l’Opéra in the late afternoon, with Paris beginning to light up and, after a dreamy ritual looking aimed at the Opera Garnier on my left, I walked till the Comédie Française, and from there through the gardens of the Palais Royal, under whose porch elegantly stay still the Galeries du Palais Royal (open daily from 8.00 am to 11.00 pm), giving me fantasies inspired by the adventures of told by Dumas, so detailed almost to seem almost memories…

Parisian Passages Couverts

Palais Royal’s Passages Couverts

These Parisian Passages Couverts are the de Montpensier, the de Beaujolais, the de Valois and the des Proues and represented for years a symbol of local debauchery, the DOC one!

Now there are fewer shops, but some luxury boutiques and “my cafe” are still there … because once blessed with good fortune and the strength of my aspirations, I followed the same path coming out of Garnier – who I still cast a dreamy look at – and I started treating myself with a cup of green tea and a pistachio macaron in the cafe under the arcades!

Leaving the Palais Royal, I pulled a deep breath and admire the entry of “my gallery,” the Galerie Vivienne (open daily from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm), knowing that tables covered with new and old books were waiting for me and that being strong enough not to buy one would be tough …

I do not think I exaggerate when saying that it is the chicest gallery in Paris! Home to beautiful boutiques, trendy wine bars, a beautiful shop of prints, and then the glasses that cover it are spectacular.

Silvia's Trips a Paris

My favorite Parisian Passages Couverts

The French capital doesnt only offers the covered passages on my way home. It is dotted with them!

They were built more or less during the early 800 and were all lit by beautiful gas lamps at nightfall. I figure the ladies in their elegant long dresses with extravagant hats and hairstyles and gentlemen with impeccable rendigote, stick, and pipe chatting while observing the windows or sitting at the table of some trendy cafe… ah, the Belle Epoque!

Sadly with “le grand Paris” by Haussmann, most of them were destroyed, and many others lost their appeal to fashionable new and huge department stores such as La Fayette or Le Bon Marché. Too bad.

Passage Brady

The Passage Brady, always open and smelling of India. On both sides of the galleries, restaurants, shops, Indians and Pakistanis stores follow one another. The scents of spices pinch your nose all along it, making me feel at ease.

Paris et mes passages couverts

Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé

Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé with its colorful showcases in vintage and beautiful windows. It closes with the shops, around 7.30/8.00 pm and is therefore closed also on Sundays.

Paris et mes passages couverts

Passage Choiseul

The Passage Choiseul, one of the longest I think. By Tavernier (the architect of ‘900, not the director ;-)).

It is among my favorites, but only because passing through it means that I’m going to the theater, at the Bouffes Parisiens … and if you speak French I recommend it!

Galerie Colbert

The Galerie Colbert is one of the most elegant. A short walk from the Galerie Vivienne, it’s dominated by its impressive dome.

Paris et mes passages couverts

Passage du Grand Cerf

Passage du Grand Cerf (open daily from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm) is the passage of the artisans but is best known for his design markets, les puces. Two long weekends where you browse between thousands of articles of a more or less old design. It’s planned once during spring and once in summer and I really like it.

Passage Jouffroy

Passage Jouffroy is simply beautiful! All iron and with a floor that I would love to have at home. It is one of the best known, but not by its name …

I’m afraid its fame is only due to the presence of the Parisian wax museum, Musée Grevin, and I have to admit that I never visited it. I know this gallery quite well because when leaving the theatre from the artists’ entrance instead of the public one, I used to walk home through the Grands Boulevards.

Paris et mes passages couverts

Passage Verdeau

Very close to the Jouffroy is the Passage Verdeau (closed on weekends). It’s the gallery of antique dealers, prints collectors, postcards, and books. To me, a little paradise!

Passage des Panoramas

Always on the Grands Boulevards, there is the Passage des Panoramas, one of the first galleries in Paris! It is open daily until midnight and has a fascinating story: the legendary engraver Henri Stern settled here, paving the way for numerous other publishing artisans. Today is the philatelists’ gallery.

There are many other, more or less stylish and well kept and if you go to Paris, I recommend you take advantage of at least one of these Parisian Passages Couverts to discover a different side of the capital.
Also, if you decide to visit them, don’t do like me, cross the bridges and go to discover the galleries located on the rive gauche too 🙂

Bon voyage !

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.