Passages & Galleries of Paris

At one time there were more than 100 passages, covered shopping arcades, in Paris. At the end of the 18th Century and into the beginning of the 19th Century shopping arcades, typically with glass roofs, popped up all over Paris. Today there are 25 passages will open in Paris.

Look for mosaic floors, cast iron work, marble pillars, ornate clocks... decorations of distinction.

These passages were the rave at the time. They were the home of restaurants, shops, entrances to apartments. They provided protection from the weather and the terrible condition of the streets.

As the department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps took hold, the passages were on the decline. Many were torn down as part of the redevelopment of Paris between 1852 and 1870.

On our last couple of trips to Paris we have headed out see as many as we can. Some are beautiful with rich decorations. Others, well, they were not worth the effort to find.

Passage du Caire

2e arrondissement
237-239 rue Saint-Denis
This is actually the oldest passage in Paris, as it was built in 1798 to 1799. Distinctive architecture and glass roof.

Metro: Sentier

Passage des Panoramas

Passage des Panoramas

2e arrondissement
11 boulevard Montmartre and 10, rue Saint-Marc
Passage PanaromaOpening in 1800, this is the second oldest passage in Paris and the first to be fitted with gas lights. The name is for the large paintings, panoramic views, of cites that had decorated the entrance. They are gone now.

Also, at one time this was a popular passage has it had two viewing rotundas, and they had grand views over Paris. The rotundas were destroyed in 1831.

It has many little streets and there are various entrances in and exits out of the passage. Hip wine bars here. It links to other passages such as the Galerie des Variétés, Galerie Feydeay, Galeria Montmarte and Galerie Saint Marc. It is located across the street from the Passage Jouffroy which leads towards the Passage Verdeau. so this is a good location to explore a few.

Metro: Grands Boulevards

Passage Jouffroy

Passage Jouffroy9e arrondissement
10-12 boulevard Montmartre and 9 rue de la Grange-Batelière
Like Passage Jouffroy, not far from Passage des Panoramas. Another of the passages with an elegant glass roof.

Build in 1847 the passage has shops with collectible film posters, old books, postcards, vintage toys etc. There is also a wax museum, the Musée Grévin.

The passage is located across boulevard Montmarte, as you leave the Passage des Panoramas. From what I have read, it was built as an extension of the Passages des Panoramas.

It is covered with a stunning glass roof. It is popular and always seems busy with people.

Metro: Richelieu-Drouot

Passage Verdeau

9e arrondissement
6 rue de la Grange-Batelière and 31 bis rue du Faubourg-Montmartre
Also built in 1847. It has a neo-classical decor. The shops sell vintage photos, stamps, books etc.

Like Passage Jouffroy, not far from Passage des Panoramas. Another of the passages with an elegant glass roof.

Galerie Colbert

2e arrondissement
4 rue Vivienne and 6 rue des Petits-Champs

As you can see by the address, this is right next door to the Galerie Vivienne.

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie VivienneGalerie Vivienne

2e arrondissement
6 rue Vivienne and 4 rue des Petits-Champs

An elegant galerie/passage. The mosaic tile floor, brass lamps and a renovated clock. Noted in many write-ups as upscale it has restaurants and pricey boutiques. Jean-Paul Gaultier opened his first boutique here and it remains his flagship store. We can attest to upscale. Our 2013 lunch at of two salads, a bottle of wine came in much higher than we had expected! Les Caves Legrand ( is said to be one of the better wine shops in Paris.

Metro: Bourse

Passae Biourg L'Abée

Passage Bourg L'Abée

2e arrondisement
20, rue Saint Denis and 3, rue de Palestro

Another of the passages near the apartment to typically rent in Paris. This one is always quite. It looks like all stores have left, but there are one or two that are still in business.

Passage Grand-Cerf

Passage du Grand-Cerf

2e arrondissement
145 rue Saint-Denis and 10 rue Dussoubs
Passage Grand CerfBuild in 1835. Located near our apartment, we would walk through this passage a few times a day. The sign on the entrance says it all for us: Vers Le Quartier Montorgueil.

Often references in write-ups about the passages, the Grand Cerf is said to be well off the normal tourist route. It is.

It original was built on the site of the Hôtel du Grand Cerf. That was closed after the French Revolution. By the end of the 19th Century the passage had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The passage was restored and it looks great. There is great wrought-iron work and of course the skylight roof. The passage is floors high and on a sunny day the light just pours down onto the subtle gray and white floor.

The shops all have wood storefronts, there is a beautiful high glass ceiling. It is very pleasant.
Metro: Etinne Marcel

Galerie Véro-Dodat

Galerie Véro-Dodat

Galerie Véro-Dodat1e arrondissement
18 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau and 2 rue du Bouloi

Build in 1826 and named after the two butchers who built the passage: Véro and Dodat. This is done in a neo-classical style. It has painted ceilings and copper pillars. You will find art-galleries and antique stores here.

Passage Molière

3e arrondissement
161 rue Saint-Martin
Named after the theatre which has now been renamed La Maison de la Poésie. This is a quite little passage.

Metro: Rambuteau