The secret Paris of the covered passageways

Les passages parisiens par Esprit de France
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Esprit de France suggests a pleasant short walk starting near rue de Rivoli and the Comédie Française Theatre

What is a passageway? It is a private road open to the public, a shortcut between two lanes or more, which may or may not be covered. Bored between buildings in the heart of the capital and often covered with glass roofs that transform them into elegant galleries, these passageways were mostly built in the nineteenth century but have often disappeared due to real estate speculation. Today there are only twenty or so left, usually classified as historical monuments. Typically housing shops, tearooms and restaurants, the passageways of Paris are architectural curiosities full of charm because, while being part of the urban culture of the big city, they promote a relationship of intimacy with strollers.

la galerie Vivienne par Esprit de France

Esprit de France suggests a pleasant short walk starting near rue de Rivoli and the Comédie Française Theatre to discover the most beautiful examples. Let's start with the elegant Galerie Vero-Dodat (named after two investors who financed it and located between Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Rue du Bouloi), the black and white diamond pavement of which, lit by a beautiful glass roof, displays its neo-classicist style. It is home to luxurious brands including the famous Christian Louboutin! Let's go back to the Jardin du Palais Royal to stroll along Buren’s Columns -a state commission that created a controversy when it was carried out in 1985 and which consists in 260 marble columns of different heights, with white and black stripes- and to wander through the covered galleries lined with discreet and refined shops. Having exited, through the tiny Passage des Deux-Pavillons, in the Rue des Petits Champs, we are right in front of the Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert. Built in the 1820s, they are certainly the most elegant of our journey because they are the largest and most complex ones with their various circulation axes and beautiful glass cupolas. Whereas the Galerie Colbert, which belongs to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, offers few storefronts apart from the renowned Brasserie du Grand Colbert, the Galerie Vivienne is much more welcoming. After lingering in front of the shop windows of designers and creaters, take a break on the terrace of A priori thé to quietly admire the splendid mosaics of the floor and the superb glass roof. Let us meet again soon to continue this walk and discover the covered passageways of the grand boulevards.