Paris Covered Passages and Shopping Arcades

The typology of the covered street and arcade as was made famous in Milan and Paris inteh 19th Century would be a fantastic reintroduction in todays cities – no the artificially controlled one of the shopping mall, but true public urban space, especially in cities such as Cape Town which has many days of inclement weather 

In the early 19th century Paris contained nearly 150 covered passages filled with shops and studios that helped establish Paris as a shopping capital of the world. But after the large department stores came into being, that number dwindled to a precious few. Janet deAcevedo Macdonald here lists passages couverts de Paris worth a visit from Bonjour Paris.

Galerie Vivienne. Photo: DolceDanielle

Passages are pedestrian pass-throughs beneath glass ceilings created to protect shoppers in inclement weather. Shopping today at a passage is an uncommon shopping excursion that combines architecture and pleasures of window shopping; or as the French say faire du lèche-vitrine (literally, window-licking).

Galeries VivienneColbert and Véro-Dodat are among the most magnificent of the Paris passages and all are located in the first and second arrondissements.

Passage Colbert. Photo: couscouschocolatVéro-Dodat. Photo: NOV-A-KA-IINN

Galerie de la Madeleine in the Paris 9th is a tinier location, just 173 feet in length, but earlier this year it served as a backdrop for haute couture runway shows. The early 19th century setting has a blend of antique shops, fashion boutiques and librairies anciennes.

The popular Passages Jouffroy and Panoramas by the Grands Boulevards retain centuries-old charm with shops for collectors of stamps, books, old postcards and vintage toys.

Passage Jouffroy. Photo: Interzone00Passage Panoramas. Photo: Interzone00

To find these places and more visit

Some passages are devoted entirely to a theme, such as the Passage du Grand Cerf (Big Deer Passage) located in the quartier Montorgueil, Paris 2nd. Passage du Caire, built in 1798, is popular with contemporary artists, craftsmen, artisans and designers. The busy Arcades des Champs-Elyséespassages in the Paris 8th offer the world’s finest in luxury shopping.

Enjoy discovering these mystical, ancient places filled with old-fashioned charm from Paris past.

PHOTO CREDITS: Galerie Vivienne. ©DolceDanielle; Passage Colbert. ©couscouschocolat; Véro-Dodat. ©NOV-A-KA-IINN; Passage Jouffroy and Panoramas. ©Interzone00

To find where they are read more here

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