French ponderings.....

French ponderings.....
Dreaming of France in The Land Down Under.......

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Parisian shopping galleries/Les passages couverts

I have long been fascinated by the beautiful shopping passages that can be found mainly on the right bank of Paris... particularly in the 2nd and 9th arrondissement. They were originally built   in the nineteenth century  to shelter shoppers from the rain , mud and horse drawn carriages etc. The   history and architecture  draws me in...I feel like I go back in time....the entrances, the skillfully tiled floors, the say nothing of the adorable boutiques within.....

This is one of my favorites..Gallerie Vivienne...........

One of  three entrances

Amazing mosaic tiling

A Prori Thé  ....a lovely stop for lunch.... or just a cup of  tea...

Wine merchant and  fine grocer ...outside entrance

interior window....  store offers drinks, meals and much more
    Here are some links to a 'melange' of stores found in Passage Vivienne

                       Bélize  ,Si tu veux ,Lettres et Images , Garde Temps , Joyce pons de Vier             

Another solid favorite is Passage Jouffroy

Early photo of Passage Jouffroy, constructed in 1846.

You can see in the above photo on the right, a 'coiffeur' sign (hairdresser). There is still a hairdresser in residence, being  Eric Stipa last time I checked, and it was here that I chose to have my first and only (so far!) hair colour and style in Paris..what a treat!

'La Cure Gourmande' for the sweet tooths out there... especially 'les caramels salées '  yum yum!
Pain d'epice, a beautiful toy store.
which sells delightful dolls houses and miniatures.

On the left bank, tucked in between the busy Blv Saint Germain des près and the winding Rue de Buci, you will find Cour du Commerce-Saint André, another favourite passage of mine. Anyone who saw the film Midnight in Paris would have enjoyed the view of this gorgeous old passage at the beginning of the movie,probably without knowing it :).


Such a favorite that the 'travelling bridesmaids' and I rented an apartment above the 'Procope' restaurant (the oldest café in Paris) in this thoroughfare

Passage entrance to Procope

dining room of the Procope

Interior of  the Procope

View pretty much from our apartment!

. It was a thrill to have this old passage as our 'own' , leaving for adventures in the morning and returning exhausted at night....actually, one evening on returning home, the night of the presidential election...we found three young people having a quiet drink on our door step in the passage. They were happily discussing the pros and cons of the election outcome. It seemed the 'younger' french were rather ecstatic about the change in government.....they had been driving up and down the Champs E'lysées  as we left the Lido earlier, tooting their car horns and cheering out their really was exciting to be in amongst it!

But I digress !!! Back to Cour du Commerce..

The cobblestones (not easy to approach in heels, I assure you) were very authentic.. the passage being opened  in 1776.

Gates leading to Rue Rohan

  Cour de Rohan is a little street that runs off the Cour du Commerce, normally private, there  is however a day, I think it is Wednesday, when the public have access to it. This allows those interested to check out
the last remaining Pas du Mule in Paris, a three legged wrought iron mounting block that was used for women and overweight men to mount their mules! This area was around in the 15th wonder I feel like I'm in another world there!

mounting block.
I miss these passages..we call them arcades here in next time I am in Melbourne I am going to visit the Royal Arcade in the city, and I will pretend I'm in Paris...                            

Royal Arcade, Melbourne, Victoria
Certainly looks like it has a  european feel to it....don't you think? :)

A bientôt, Gigi


  1. How interesting now I will look at the block arcade with different eyes. It is such a lovely arcade and a must there is afternoon tea at the Hopetoun tea rooms which started in 1891, quite young really compared to the arcades in Paris that you speak of. Now I want to go back to Paris to visit one of the arcades.

  2. As you know, A Priori Thé is one of my favourites. I always go through the arcade to the other side rather than using the pavement around it. There are still lots of others on the list!

  3. Which means I will need to keep visiting Paris to wander through ALL the passages :)