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The most charming Covered Passages in Paris

ABOUT THE COVERED PASSAGES IN PARIS

The Covered Passages in Paris are a world apart from the crowded museums or busy Grands Boulevards in Paris. By the end of the XVIIIth century town planners created a labyrinth of hidden commercial galleries 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 cafes, restaurants or small theaters.

Over the years only few passages 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 tearooms and other curiosity shops. These charming passages, totally free to visit, are the perfect shelter for a rainy day but also a trip back in time to the wonderful Belle Époque.

covered passages in paris

Luckily most of these galleries are in the second and ninth Parisian districts so you can go from one passage to the following one by foot. With few exceptions, they open from Monday to Saturday, during the business hours.

covered passages in paris

Related:  Paris 2 Like a Local: Top Sights and Our Must See's & Do's

OUR FAVORITE COVERED PASSAGES IN PARIS

1. GALLERIE VIVIENNE – THE MOST ELEGANT

4 rue des Petit-Champs 75002 Paris ; M. Bourse L3 or Palais Royal –Musée du Louvre L1, L7, Vélib Post #2009

Built in 1823, this gallery is considered the most beautiful, elegant and exquisite passage in Paris.  If you have time to visit only one covered passage, choose this one. Today Gallerie Vivienne gathers luxury boutiques, bookshops, fabric shops and lovely bistros. Don’t miss its elegant architecture and the original mosaic floor with the names of the former shops at the entrance of them.

covered passages paris

covered passages in paris

OUR MUST SEE’S: check the world reputed Wolff & Descourtis (#18) for its cashmere shawls and fashionable fabric designs. Legrand Filles et Fils (1 rue de la Banque) is considered the best wine shop in Paris (more than 3000 labels). Librairie F Jousseamme (#45) is a famous bookshop, also selling beautiful ancient postcards.

THE PERFECT BREAK: Bistrot Vivienne (rue des Petits Champs), a typical Parisian bistro with quality traditional cuisine.  A Priori Thé (#35) is an elegant Parisian tearoom, perfect for your afternoon tea.

2. GALLERIE COLBERT – THE ETERNAL RIVAL

2 rue Vivienne 75002 Paris ; M. Bourse L3 or Palais Royal Musée du Louvre L1, L7, Vélib Post #2009

Its entrance is on the same street than Gallerie Vivienne so it is impossible to get lost! Actually Passage Colbert (1826) was built to be in competition with Gallerie Vivienne but it was less successful than its rival. Don’t miss the richness of its architecture and neoclassical decoration and of course its 15-metres diameter rotunda, its main feature. This gallery is mainly orientated towards culture so there are no shops here. It hosts l’Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and L’Institut National du Patrimoine.

covered passages in paris

THE PERFECT BREAK: the restaurant Le Grand Colbert (2 rue Vivienne), with its unique Art Nouveau atmosphere, for a nice meal or an excellent hot chocolate in the afternoon.

3. PASSAGE DU GRAND CERF – THE HIDDEN GEM

145 rue de Saint Denis 75002 Paris ; M. Étienne-Marcel L4, Vélib Post #1102

One of the most beautiful passages in Paris, not easy to find though. It was built in 1825 on the site of the Hôtel du Grand Cerf, from which it took its name. Its pleasing interior has many curious crafts, artisan shops and high quality jewelries. Don’t miss its spectacular 12 metre-high structure made of metal and wrought iron with a beautiful glass roof and its flourished balconies on the first floor.

covered passages in paris

OUR MUST SEE’S: Eric et Lydie (#7), contemporary jewelry designers. Pour Vos Beaux Yeux (#10) specializes in vintage eye-wear. Rickshaw (#7) sells curious objects from all around the world.

THE PERFECT BREAK: Le Pas Sage (#1) is a wine bar perfect to finish your shopping in style.

4. PASSAGE DES PANORAMAS – THE OLDEST

11 boulevard de Montmartre 75002 Paris ; M. Richelieu-Drouot L8 and 9 or Grands Boulevards L8 and 9, Vélib Post #2108

Built in 1799 along two arrondissements, this is the oldest of the surviving covered passages in Paris and the first one illuminated with gas lamps in 1816. Its name comes from the two large rotundas built at the entrance of the passage (disappeared today) to display panoramic paintings of Paris, Toulon, Rome, Jerusalem, and other famous cities. This labyrinthine passage is home to the Théâtre des Variétés which entertains Parisians since 1807. Most of all Passage des Panoramas is known for its philately shops. Therefore if you like old stamps, postcards and coins, this is the place to go.

covered passages in paris

OUR MUST SEE’S: the French engraving and printer Henri Stern (#47) set up shop here in 1834. Today the shop is working as a fancy cafe but you still can see original details of the former shop. The Artists’ entrance to Théâtre des Variétés (#17). Tombées du Camion (#44) has interesting (sometimes weird) collectibles.

THE PERFECT BREAK:  Restaurant Noglu (#16), one of the few gluten-free eateries in Paris. Les Racines (#8) specializes in trendy natural wines. La Crêperie (#62) proposes  yummy crêpes  and ice creams.

5. PASSAGE JOUFFROY – THE MOST GENUINE

10 boulevard de Montmartre 75009 Paris; M. Grands Boulevards L8 and 9, Vélib Post #2108

If you want to know how theses passages looked like during their mid XIXth century heyday, Passage Jouffroy is the place to go. Crowded and packed with quirky boutiques, this covered passage is always fun to walk. This is also the most touristy passage thanks to Musée Grevin, the Parisian version of Madame Tussaud’s, which has the exit inside this passage. Don’t miss its structure, this is the first Parisian passage built entirely of metal and glass with the only exception of the decorative elements in wood. We also like the floor, paved with a geometric pattern composed of white, gray and black squares.

covered passages in paris

OUR MUST SEE’S: Pain d’Épices (#29) and La Boite à Joujoux (#41) are two old fashioned toy shops which are worth a visit inside. Quirky Segas (#34) specializes in antique walking sticks. Librairie du Passage (#48 ) proposes second hand books and beautiful vintage posters.

THE PERFECT BREAK: stop at Café Zéphyr (12 Boulevard de Montmartre) to enjoy a nice Art Déco atmosphere and some French pastries. And why not sleeping inside the passage? Stay at charming Hôtel Chopin (#46) for a fashionable sleep, with good deals if you book in advance.

6. PASSAGE BRADY – THE MOST EXOTIC

43, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin 75010 ; M. Chateau d’Eau L4 or Strasbourg Saint Denis L4,8 and 9, Vélib Post #10002

It is easy to understand why people call this passage “Little India”: this colorful and perfumed passage is full of of Indian, Pakistan, Mauritian and Reunion curry restaurants, spice shops and bazaars. Built in 1828 by the merchant M. Brady, Passage Brady was originally a beautiful passage with an elegant rotunda to compensate its irregular design. In 1854 the passage was cut off to let the new boulevard de Strasbourg pass. Today only the part linking rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis to boulevard de Strasbourg is covered. Don’t miss the beautiful Art Nouveau inscription with the name of the passage at the entrance. The view from the eateries’ first floor deserves a lunch or dinner here.

covered passages in paris

OUR MUST SEE’S: Épicerie Velan (#87) to buy Indian and Pakistani specialties (and any kind of species).

THE PERFECT BREAK: La Reine du Kashmir (#80), restaurant awarded with different Indian gastronomy prices.

WHERE TO SLEEP 

Hotel Chopin Paris

HOTEL CHOPIN – MID RANGE STAY (100-200€ PER NIGHT)

The hostel’s entrance is through one of the most beautiful covered passages in Paris (Passage Jouffroy) so you can feel the passage’s special atmosphere during all your stay. Actually, thanks to its decoration this hotel is like an extension of the same passage

Check the hotel’s latest offers


OUR SUGGESTIONS: CLICK FOR MORE INFO ↓

Musée des Arts Forains

Paris Secret et Insolite (FR)

Book Cover The Covered Passages of Paris

The Covered Passages of Paris (EN)

Musée des Arts Forains

Only in Paris (EN)

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62 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    05/13/2017 at 8:24 am

    Hi there, just to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award as one of my favourite travel blogs! I was recently nominated and the purpose of the award if you haven’t heard of it is to recognise each others efforts, encourage one another and grow partnerships between bloggers.
    If you wish to accept it, take a look at my most recent post!
    http://thewanderingwelshie.com/2017/05/12/blogger-recognition-award/
    All the best,
    Sarah x

  • Reply
    Punita Malhotra
    03/19/2017 at 2:17 pm

    Wow is the word. I had no idea there were that many of them, though! Well, Paris is a huge. complex city, and the more you discover, the less you feel you have discovered.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      03/19/2017 at 11:13 pm

      Oh, and those described on the post were only a small selection 😉

  • Reply
    Agness of Fit Travelling
    03/07/2017 at 11:22 pm

    The romantic Paris never stops to amaze me, Thanks a bunch for the efforts to provide a detailed and comprehensive post!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      03/11/2017 at 9:55 pm

      And thanks to you for stopping by and your kind words! 🙂

  • Reply
    UK Student Visa
    02/14/2017 at 8:24 am

    This is a place where you will want to visit with no hesitation, such a shame I’ve been in Paris but I never check this out. Looking forward visiting Paris again.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/14/2017 at 11:17 pm

      Now you have the map with all these passages well located 🙂

  • Reply
    Jane M.
    02/13/2017 at 10:38 pm

    This is what i’ve been looking for! I’ve been to Paris quite a few times and have only seen the touristic landmarks. At least now I know where to go to see the ancient architectural charm of Paris. <3

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/15/2017 at 10:30 pm

      Plus they are perfect for when it rains in Paris 😀 Thanks for your comment, Jane 🙂

  • Reply
    sophie
    02/13/2017 at 2:30 pm

    Paris is something which I have visited for like more than 8 times, but never noticed any covered passages, Thanks for sharing this and showing the amazing part of paris, I would love to visit them on my next trip. Cheers 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/13/2017 at 10:34 pm

      Now you also have the little map to locate them 😉

  • Reply
    Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul
    02/12/2017 at 11:24 am

    Wow! These all look amazing, especially the Gallerie Vivienne. I love exploring these types of areas! Hoping to make it to Paris soon!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/12/2017 at 11:24 pm

      Gallerie Vivienne is also my favourite one, so fancy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nisha
    02/04/2017 at 10:29 pm

    Thats a lovely and unique collection! I am sure in the yesteryears these must have been open street. I have seen at least one similar covered passage in Brussels.

  • Reply
    Erica M Poyauan
    02/03/2017 at 6:05 am

    always been a fan of interior design… I feel if I go to Paris I’d get the best designs and literally lit my face to see them in person… and yeah I am almost right because I feel happiness looking at the photos you shared… These covered passages are awesome!!!

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/20/2017 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you for your nice comment, Erica 🙂

  • Reply
    Johna
    02/03/2017 at 2:28 am

    Lovely place! We didn’t get to go here when we went to Paris a few months ago. I feel like everywhere in Paris is just beautiful! 😛

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/20/2017 at 10:47 pm

      Probably you are right, Johna 😉

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    02/02/2017 at 9:34 am

    These passages of Paris are indeed a revelation. A massive thanks for throwing light on these grand works of art, which they are in their own right. Will visit them next time we are there are in Paris. The first time around we were stuck to the traditional Parisian sights.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/02/2017 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks for your beautiful comment, Sandy 🙂

  • Reply
    Mohit Agarwal
    02/02/2017 at 6:59 am

    wow..who knew the street could look as charming as the malls…i really liked the 1st and 5th one

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/02/2017 at 9:44 pm

      My favourite is still Galerie Vivienne 🙂

  • Reply
    Gel
    02/02/2017 at 6:24 am

    I would love to check out Gallerie Vivienne because of its bookshops! Looks like one can discover a lot trinkets and rare book finds there. It’s also interesting that it has boutiques and fabric shops.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/02/2017 at 9:45 pm

      The fabric shop is really wonderful! Many cinema stars went there to buy exclusive fabrics

  • Reply
    Shandos
    02/01/2017 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I had no idea these existed. I’ll be visiting Paris soon with my little dog, and these look like an ideal indoor activity to do where he’ll be allowed.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/20/2017 at 10:46 pm

      I am not sure about the dog, Shandos! :-O

  • Reply
    Marge
    02/01/2017 at 11:06 pm

    I can get lost in these passages and I wouldn’t mind, they all looked beautiful and I am pretty sure that exploring them would be a thing for leisure. I like anything with a vintage feel, old places and things, they truly fascinate me and these passages have ’em so I can already imagine enjoying my time if ever I get there.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/25/2017 at 8:04 pm

      Yes, they are beautiful, charming and some of them a little bit hidden . . . they give a sense of discovery somehow 🙂

  • Reply
    Darlene
    02/01/2017 at 5:06 pm

    Wow it was like stepping back in time! I love how grand it seems. How I wish to walk these halls soon! Paris is ❤!

  • Reply
    Revathi
    02/01/2017 at 1:50 pm

    All these spots are so beautiful, got an entirely different perspective of Paris. Such passages are truly paradise in my opinion and I would be happy to spend a lot of time here during my trip. PASSAGE BRADY would surely be my personal favorite 😀

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/25/2017 at 8:05 pm

      Revathi, you should try something much more exotic for you 😀

  • Reply
    neha
    01/31/2017 at 6:15 pm

    Nice post. I am planning to visit Paris this year and your post is definitely going to help me in planning my sightseeings in Paris. I will definitely like to cover these Passages.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/01/2017 at 8:14 am

      Thanks for your comment. Nice to know you will be following my steps in Paris 🙂

  • Reply
    Promise Chika Maxwell
    01/31/2017 at 2:59 pm

    Legrand Filles et Fils, good to know where to go get the best wine in Paris should I find myself around in town. From your photo shots I think I prefer the “Passage Du Grand Cerf” with the interior decorations.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/25/2017 at 8:05 pm

      Good choice! I also like it a lot 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan Jerrard
    01/31/2017 at 1:42 am

    I loved exploring different commercial passage ways while we were in Paris – we would always stumble across them by accident. Though I had no idea that they had such historic significance and were once hidden!

  • Reply
    Harsh Gupta
    01/29/2017 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for acquainting us with these passages as we would be heading to Paris in August. Passage des Panoramas looks gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Anne
    01/29/2017 at 4:23 pm

    These galleries look gorgeous. There’s some Victorian galleries like these in Leeds in Yorkshire too and it’s like stepping back in time.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      01/30/2017 at 10:32 pm

      Beautiful, isn’t it? Cool that you had some also in the UK 🙂

  • Reply
    Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers
    01/29/2017 at 8:52 am

    The covered malls with all their artistic detail are stunning. I’m not much of a shopper when I travel but I’m sure I could be persuaded to pass some time in any or all of these although I would have to agree with you on the elegance of gallerie Vivienne.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      01/30/2017 at 10:33 pm

      If you are not a shopper you can also come for a café et croissant 😉

  • Reply
    Rhonda Albom
    01/29/2017 at 12:04 am

    They are so old and so beautiful. I had no idea these existed, but wish I had when we visited Paris. I would love to just stand at one end and stare (with my camera) for a while. The floors and ceilings are amazing. Thanks.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/25/2017 at 8:09 pm

      Rhonda maybe there will be a next time for you in Paris, and next time thanks to this post you will have all these passages on your map 😉

  • Reply
    Gokul Raj
    01/28/2017 at 1:17 pm

    An iconic city with so many wonderful structure. Covered passages just adds to the beauty of the city.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/20/2017 at 10:48 pm

      I can only agree with your point of view, Gokul 😉

  • Reply
    Indrani
    01/28/2017 at 12:05 pm

    What a pity… I have toured Paris yet I have not been to any of these covered passages. They are really interesting lined with the boutique shops as you say. Book shops here will be treasure houses of knowledge I am sure.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      03/01/2017 at 8:45 pm

      The bookshops are really beautiful, especially those that I am showing on the pictures 🙂

  • Reply
    Nathan
    01/28/2017 at 9:34 am

    I’ve still never been to Paris! This post makes me want to really consider going! Great photos. I hope to see some of these when I do finally make it there.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      03/01/2017 at 8:44 pm

      And now you know where to find them 😀 Plus I am sure you would enjoy some patisseries in their cute cafes 😉

  • Reply
    Carmen's Luxury Travel
    01/25/2017 at 12:34 pm

    How have I never discovered these while in Paris?! All of them look so charming! Bookmarking this for the future, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      02/25/2017 at 8:11 pm

      You are welcome, Carmen. I am sure you will especially like Galerie Vivienne 🙂

  • Reply
    Kerri
    01/23/2017 at 10:59 pm

    Oh I just love these. Have spent much time exploring these when I find them, and looking for new ones. The ones down in St Denis are a bit past their used by date but you’ve picked the beauties here. My fave is the Panoramas – the book stores and old coin/stamp collecting places in here are incredible. I remember a lovely morning tea here too.

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      01/24/2017 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Kerri for your comment. From what you tell, I think you know more about Parisian covered passages than me! 🙂

  • Reply
    Clare
    01/23/2017 at 8:47 pm

    i have visited Paris but not noticed any covered passages. Next time I am there it would be great to visit. They look so beautiful places 🙂

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      01/24/2017 at 12:29 pm

      That’s why I attached a map marking all the passages described on the post, next time you come, it will be more easy to find them 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacey Veikalas
    01/23/2017 at 10:37 am

    Nice place, I have been to Paris many times but never seen some of these passages. I will definitely try to find these next time we are there. Cool little gems, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Exploring the beautiful Grand Boulevards of Paris | Day 37
    01/23/2017 at 7:19 am

    […] are the Les Passage Couverts. Exposed to the Grand Boulevards only by an entrance way, these undercover passages are quite often missed.  But if you can find them, the Passages Jouffrey, Verdeau and Panoramas, […]

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    01/22/2017 at 5:32 pm

    Wow, I never thought such passages existed. This is a great article, eye-openers, all!

  • Reply
    Brianna
    01/22/2017 at 3:04 pm

    These are beautiful, and look like they’d be really fun to photograph. Is there a good time to go when there aren’t many people?

    • Reply
      WorldInParis
      01/24/2017 at 11:28 pm

      If you want to avoid the crowds go on weekdays early in the morning or early in the afternoon. Avoid going around lunchtime (some of them have many little restaurants, perfect for a lunch break) and of course on Saturday.

  • Reply
    Nic
    01/22/2017 at 2:36 pm

    Great list, this is one of the things I love about Paris, despite it being very touristy at time there is the real Paris lurking there to be found! A little but like Venice in many way, especially these passageways!

  • Reply
    Corinne
    01/22/2017 at 8:19 am

    Such a great post for the winter! I think Paris can be charming, but boy it also gets cold. Love this. I will be adding them to my Paris list.

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