Best Galeries and Passages

France, Paris Guide (D): Best Galeries and Passages

In this guide you will find details of the top 12 Galeries and Passages in Paris; choosen for their architectual interest, stunning interiors and unique shopping and dining establishments, you are sure to love discovering these hidden Parisian treasures.
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Attractions Map

Guide Name: Best Galeries and Passages
Guide Location: France » Paris
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 12
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Passage du Bourg-l'Abbé   Passage du Grand-Cerf   Galerie Vero Dodat   Galerie de Valois   Galerie de Montpensier   Passage Choiseul   Galerie Colbert   Galerie Vivienne   Passage des Panoramas   Passage Jouffroy   Passage des Princes   Passage Verdeau  
Author: Nola Chesworth
Author Bio: Based in Manchester UK, Nola has traveled extensively around Europe; visiting destinations on her weekends off from her full-time job. She has learnt how to make the most of a city while on a budget and on a strict time schedule, and enjoys finding unique and unusual places as well as checking out the major tourist attractions.
Author Website: http://lostnola.wordpress.com
1
Passage du Bourg-l'Abbé

1) Passage du Bourg-l'Abbé

We start our tour here, at the Passage du Bourg-l'Abbé, built in 1828; this is a quiet passage, and a lovely way to begin. This is a stunning example of a covered passage in Paris, which is lovingly being restored to its former greatness. With its glass roof, ornate clock, and wood paneling, this passage still has its original features, for you to enjoy. There are currently no shops or cafes within; however, this is expected to change soon, so keep an eye out for new openings, and developments. It is a peaceful place, and an excellent opportunity to see a stunning passage during the renovation process.
2
Passage du Grand-Cerf

2) Passage du Grand-Cerf

Built in 1825, not only is this passage architecturally magnificent; 3 stories in height, makes it feel exceptionally grand, but it is also home to some wonderfully unique boutique shops. Selling wares ranging from jewellery and antiques, to handbags and spectacles; this is the perfect place to pick up an unusual, high quality souvenir, without the designer price tag. You can spend hours walking the length of this 117m passage browsing the shelves of the beautiful little shops, while taking in the stunning surroundings. If you are interested in alternative shopping, hoping to pick up something ‘a little bit different’ this is sure to be one of your favourite passages; the jewellery selection is especially impressive; handmade, unusual items are in plentiful supply. There is also a stunning florist located at no.4; the scent of the flowers fills the passage, making the experience even more memorable.
3
Galerie Vero Dodat

3) Galerie Vero Dodat

This is one of the best preserved Galeries in Paris, with a black and white tiled floor, marble columns and a breath-taking painted ceiling. Running between rue de Jean-Jacques Rosseau and rue de Croix-des-Petis-Champs, this stunning example of early 19th Century architecture is home to some fabulous boutiques, including shoe heaven Christian Louboutin. If your budget does not stretch to a pair of red soled shoes, you can marvel at the ever changing wonderful window displays, which look like they belong in an art gallery. You will also find several art galleries, a handbag shop, sock boutique and music shop offering a variety of stringed instruments, both new and vintage. At the entrance of the Galerie is the Cafe de L'Epoque, which is a very highly regarded establishment in this area; despite its central location, this café has a great relaxed atmosphere, and is a good place to go if you want to avoid hundreds of tourists, while sampling some authentic French cuisine.
4
Galerie de Valois

4) Galerie de Valois

We are now going to depart from the typical glass roofed passages we've seen so far on this tour,and see some stone built arcades; these galeries are just as wonderful as previous ones, and are sure to delight. Galerie de Valois and Galerie de Montpensier surround the gardens of the Palais Royal. If you're looking to do some designer shopping, this is the place as world class designers; including Stella McCartney and Rick Owens have boutiques under the stone arches.This Galerie is also home to Didier Ludot’s: La Petite Robe Noire; the one stop place for the perfect little black dress. All designed by couture king himself Didier, you are sure to find the perfect cocktail gown! If you feel like splashing out in one of Paris' top restaurants, be sure to check out Le Grand Véfour in Galerie Beaujolais which links Galerie de Valois to Galerie de Montpensier. Le Grand Véfour was opened originally in 1784 and serves some of the best food in Paris, in a traditional, spectacular setting.
5
Galerie de Montpensier

5) Galerie de Montpensier

Continuing around the gardens of the Palais Royal under the stone archways, you arrive at another hidden Parisian gem. Like the previous Galerie de Valois this galerie includes high end designer fashion stores, including Marc Jacobs and the fabulous Didier Ludot, supplying designer vintage haute couture. Prices are steep, but a stop in the Restaurant du Palais Royal within this gallery would certainly be a treat; especially if you are looking for exceptional French cuisine. If your budget does not allow for such an extravagant meal, you can always grab a sandwich from a near-by boulangerie and dine al fresco in the secluded garden.
6
Passage Choiseul

6) Passage Choiseul

We now head back to the glass roofed passages and galleries, continuing the tour here in Passage Choiseul. This busy passage is not as well kept or as grand as some of the previous ones we have seen, but it certainly does not lack in charm or atmosphere. Lots of little reasonably priced cafes and shops, including antique shops, clothing and shoe specialists, which are perfect if you are on a budget. This is a bustling passage, particularly at lunch time, where workers and tourists flock to the numerous food outlets; expect to find a mix of oriental foods, smoothies, and sandwich take-away’s. If you’re looking for a little souvenir, or a present for someone back home, which isn’t going to break the bank, take a look around the gift shops in this passage, for some inspiration.
7
Galerie Colbert

7) Galerie Colbert

Built in 1826, this galerie features an impressive domed roof and mosaic floor; when the sunlight beams down, this is one of the most beautiful galeries to be in. There are no shops here, as it is home to the National Institute of Art History and the National Heritage Institution, however, it is certainly worth a look purely for the tremendous ceiling. There is one brasserie located within this galerie; Le Grand Colbert, which was made famous by Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in the film 'Something's Gotta Give' it is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner. The interior is sumptuous and extravagant; with red velvet, green glasswork, and numerous plants and soft leather, it oozes Belle Eopque style glamour; you really do feel like you are in a film yourself. If you fancy snails, onion soup, of frog’s legs, then this is your place, traditional food, in an original restaurant dating back to 1830.
8
Galerie Vivienne

8) Galerie Vivienne

This magnificent galerie was built in 1823, and is one of the finest examples on the tour. Featuring a mosaic floor, domed roof (smaller than the neighboring Colbert) numerous shops and a couple of cafe's with their traditional shop front's, you really do feel like you have been transported back in time. Jean Paul Gaultier has a shop here, setting the standard for high end boutique shopping. Other highlights include Lucien Legrand Filles et Fils, a wine shop opened in 1850, offering a fine selection of wines, chocolates and sweets, you can sample wine here, have a spot of lunch, and purchase a treat to save for later. The bookstore Jousseaume offer new and antiquarian books; bookworms can spend hours browsing the shelves of this magnificent store. For the little ones, (or the young at heart!) a stop of Si Tu Veux is essential; offering traditional as well as the latest in toys; this is a child’s dream come true! If you’re feeling a bit peckish, there is A Priori Thé, a gorgeous Tea Salon, offering breakfast, lunch and desert; if you want something a little more substantial, why not try Bistrot Vivienne, for traditional French cuisine.
9
Passage des Panoramas

9) Passage des Panoramas

This charming passage is probably one of the most well-known and frequently visited in Paris, by locals, as well as tourists; linked up to 4 other smaller galeries (Galerie des Variétés, Galerie Feydeau, Galerie Montmartre and Galerie Saint Marc) this is a maze within the 2nd Arrondissement. Housing mainly cafes, bistros and restaurants suiting a variety of budgets and tastes from around the world in appropriately decorated settings. If your appetite has already been satisfied, this is still an amazing passage, with its authentic signage and bustling atmosphere; it is a true gem. There are also several shops specializing in stamp collecting (if you’re an avid collector, this is as good as it gets), old photographs and postcards, as well as other interesting little magnificent shops, this is definitely a favourite!
10
Passage Jouffroy

10) Passage Jouffroy

Like the neighboring Passage des Panoramas this is another busy passage, which attracts many visitors thanks to the amazing interiors and variety of interesting shops. A marvelous bookshop offers bargain coffee table books on the outside tables, as well as hundreds more books inside. You can also indulge in the chocolate shop, visit the surreal walking stick specialist, and oriental bazaar; for fabrics, incense, and decorative items at very reasonable prices. Numerous gift and collectible shops are also located here, where you can pick up a quirky souvenir, from one of the many boutiques full to the point of bursting with wonderful goods. Passage Jouffroy is also home to Musée Grévin, Paris’ waxwork museum; you will be amazed by the striking resemblance between the wax works, and real life celebrities!
11
Passage des Princes

11) Passage des Princes

The penultimate passage on this tour is a surprising one; from the outside it does not look remarkable, the modern exterior is deceptive; built in 1860, it is one of the later passages from the era with its high glass roof, chequered floor and spherical lanterns, it is also one of the finest. Featuring a stained glass circular domed roof, it really is exquisite, and will be a highlight for architecture enthusiasts. The passage is home to a large toy-shop, which will delight the big kids and little ones alike, this ‘Toy Kingdom’ is a child’s dream come true, and will certainly take the older generations back to their youth.
12
Passage Verdeau

12) Passage Verdeau

We have reached the final passage of the tour, and this one is similar in style to the neighboring Passages des Panoramas and Jouffroy, built at the same time in 1847, but with its own charm and uniqueness. There are plenty of second hand bookshops to browse through, antique stores with knowledgeable dealers working at their desks, art and photographic galleries offering some rare and beautiful finds, and a traditional embroidery store; this eclectic mix working perfectly together. Pick up a vintage postcard to send home, or if you are a comic fanatic, you are sure to find something in one of the shops in this final passage. Finish off with a bite to eat, and a glass of something red or white in Le Bistrot at no.7, for a friendly French meal.

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