The Passages of Paris
One of my favorite things to do in Paris is to visit the hidden passages throughout the city. Developed between the late 18th century and the mid-19th century, these covered pedestrian walkways haven’t changed much since their opening so many years ago. Once you step inside these passages, you will be transported back in time and will feel the spirit of an old time Paris. Shops in the passages range from stamp traders, to cross stitch shops and unique cafes and bistros. One of my favorite passages, Passage Jouffroy, can be found just off Grands Boulevard (near the Grands Boulevard Metro exit) which hosts an array of boutiques including an old fashioned toy shop and wonderful boutiques filled with trinkets for your home decor. Just across the street on Grands Boulevards is the entrance to Passage Panoramas, another beautiful alleyway filled with bistros and interesting little shops.
Each walkway is covered by a canopy of metal and glass creating a surreal feeling of being outdoors while covered by the glass. Over the years, many passages fell into disrepair or were demolished, but if you know where to look you can still push back a doorway and find yourself in a beautiful belle époque walkway. While some passages are rundown and quirky, some have thrived and been restored and now house chic boutiques such as Jean Paul Gaultier. One passage way that offers this chic, beautiful experience is Galerie Vivienne. Beautiful architecture, unique mosaics and grand statues have been preserved over time, but be warned, the shops and restaurants are seriously chic and expensive. You can find Galerie Vivienne located between the Palais Royal, the stock exchange and the Grands Boulevards around the Bourse metro stop. This is one passage not to miss, and bring your camera to photograph the beautiful architecture that this passage has to offer.
With the many passages throughout Paris, be sure to to take some time to visit at least one of these beautiful historical places while in Paris. You can Google “Paris Passages”, and find your way to these hidden gems throughout the city.