Discovering parisian galerias

Outings | History and heritage
à la découverte des passages parisiens
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The forerunners of the shopping centre of today, Paris’s 25 indoor gallerias are a throwback to the 19th century. 

To help you discover them on foot, we have chosen four such gallerias in the vicinity of Paris’s Grands Boulevards and Palais Royal (in the second arrondissement). What do they have in common, you may ask? Spectacular glass structures and a unique atmosphere.

Passage des Panoramas

158 rue Montmartre. Paris 2. Metro : Grands Boulevards.

Opening on to Paris’s Grands Boulevards, Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest gallerias of Paris. Inaugurated in 1800, it is a place for Parisians to promenade and shop, whatever the weather. It was also here that the first ever gas lamp, invented by the engineer, Philippe Lebon, was tested. Today, the galleria is also a temple of gastronomy, where you will find gourmet eateries such as the former shop of the engraver, Stern, which has now been transformed into a trendy Italian restaurant (Café Stern).

Passage Choiseul

40 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2. Métro : Opéra ou Quatre-Septembre.

Just a few blocks away, you can also stroll around Passage Choiseul, which connects Rue des Petits-Champs with Rue Saint-Augustin. Spanning 190 metres, it is the longest covered galleria in Paris. The writer, Louis Ferdinand Céline, also resided here between 1899 and 1907. 

Galerie Colbert

6 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2. Métro : Pyramides ou Bourse.

Built in 1826 in direct competition to the adjoining Galerie Vivienne, today the galleria houses several institutions linked to the history of art and culture. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., during which the public can come and be awed by its spectacular central area with its glass dome.

Don’t forget to check out the famous brasserie Le Grand Colbert, located at the entrance of the galleria, with its Art Nouveau decor often featured in films.

Galerie Vivienne

4 rue des Petits-Champs Paris 2. Métro : Bourse.

Built in 1823, next to Palais Royal, this galleria had its heyday up to the end of the period known in France as the Second Empire. Its mosaic floors and glass structures still make it one of the most elegant gallerias of the capital and today it still boasts a host of luxury boutiques. For wine-lovers, a visit to the Legrand cellars is a must and it has been so since 1880.