The Covered Passages of Paris are the City of Light’s little secret, and one I am happy we discovered with our local guide, Sarah. She showed us another era of Paris that is alive, and not in a museum. Well, alive for now. They are diminishing by the day, a sad situation indeed.
These skylight-covered galleries are the epitome of Paris, and best described by the site World in Paris – Enjoy Paris Like a Local:
“By the end of the XVIII century, town planners created a labyrinth of commercial covered walkways across the city with beautiful stained glass ceilings, mosaic works and iron latticework, all bathed in natural light. Apart from its dominating merchant role, they were also the new bourgeois’ favorite stroll, the place to show up and socialize in its endless cute cafes, restaurants or small theaters.
“Over the years only a few covered walkways survived. Restored to its former glory, they are nowadays real Art Nouveau/Neoclassical architectural gems and if you know where to look you will find delightful ancient boutiques, cute cafes and other curiosity shops. These charming Parisian walkways, totally free to visit, are the perfect shelter for a rainy day but also a trip back in time to the wonderful Belle Époque.”
While there were once 200, that number of covered passages has been reduced to about 20, and six or seven remain in good condition. Unfortunately, in its zeal to “modernize,” these lovely passages will soon be gone by way of the buggy whip. If you get to Paris, take a couple of hours and do a walking tour of these unique spaces.
The Passages are on the ground floors of the buildings where they are tucked away. Today, people still live upstairs. This spiral staircase leads to a private apartment.
These old-fashioned book covers are right at home in the Passages.
All the fixtures, including many tile floors, are original in the 200+ year-old spaces. The gas lamps are now electric.
Frédéric Chopin and George Sand began their nine-year affair at the Hotel Chopin in the Passages.
The Musée Grévin is a wax museum in Paris, begun before the invention of photography. The wax figures of notables of the day enabled the commoners to know what their leaders looked like.
Another spiral staircase leading up to a private apartment, occupied to this day.
A winged wolf. Your guess is as good as mine. Anthony posted a picture of it from his iPhone and within seconds he was subjected to an ad for Purina Dog Chow. Really.