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About the Covered Parisian Walkways
The Covered Passages of Paris (Les Passages Couverts de Paris in French) are a hidden gem of Paris, a world apart from the crowded museums or busy Grands Boulevards.
By the end of the 18th 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, the Paris passages were also the new bourgeois’ favorite stroll, the place to show up and socialize in its endless cafes, traditional bistros or small theaters.
Over the years, only a few Parisian 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 a hidden world of delightful ancient boutiques, cute cafes and other curiosity shops. These charming secret passages, totally free to visit, are the perfect shelter for a rainy day in Paris but also a trip back in time to the wonderful Belle Époque.
Our Favorite Covered Passages in Paris
- Galerie Vivienne Paris – 4 rue des Petit-Champs, Paris 2.
- Galerie Colbert Paris – 2 rue Vivienne, Paris 2.
- Passage du Grand Cerf Paris- 145 rue de Saint-Denis, Paris 2.
- Passage des Panoramas Paris – 11 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9.
- Passage Jouffroy Paris – 10 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9.
- Passage Brady Paris – 43 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, Paris 10.
- Passage Choiseul Paris – 40 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2.
- Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé – 120, rue Saint-Denis, Paris 2.
Luckily, most of these secret passages of Paris are in the second and ninth Arrondissements of Paris so you can go from one covered walkway to the following one on foot. With few exceptions, they open from Monday to Saturday, during the business hours.
READ MORE – Explore Paris 2 Like a Local
Covered Passages Paris Map & Walking Tour
Looking for beautiful, scenic walks in Paris? Explore the Secret Passages of Paris at your own pace with this self-guided Covered Passages Paris Walking Tour. On your way, you will find typical Parisian bistros, cute cafes, nice vintage shopping in Paris and more.
Paris Covered Passages Map
Paris Covered Passages Map
Explore the covered walkways in Paris with the help of this Paris Arcade Maps and the descriptions of the best passages in Paris.
» Suggested Paris Arcades Walking Tour #1: Passage Jouffroy, Passage des Panoramas, Passage Choiseul, Passage Colbert, Galerie Vivienne.
» Suggested Paris Passages Walking Tour #2: Passage Colbert, Galerie Vivienne, Passage du Grand Cerf, Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé.
1. Galerie Vivienne Paris – The Most Elegant
4 rue des Petit-Champs, Paris 2; M. Bourse L3 or Palais Royal –Musée du Louvre Line 1, Line 7
Start your Paris Passages Walking tour with this wonderful passage. Built during the year 1823, Galerie Vivienne (or Passage Vivienne) is considered the most beautiful, and elegant covered walkway in Paris. If you have time to visit only one Parisian walkway, choose this one.
Today Galerie Vivienne Paris gathers luxury boutiques, bookshops, fabric shops, and lovely French cafes. Don’t miss its elegant architecture and the original mosaic floor with the names of the former shops at the entrance of each shop.
» 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, with more than 3000 labels (come with your wine tote bag). Librairie F Jousseamme (#45) is a beautiful bookshop with ancient editions and rare books, which also sells beautiful ancient postcards.
» THE PERFECT BREAK: Bistrot Vivienne (rue des Petits Champs), is a typical Parisian bistro with good traditional cuisine. A Priori Thé (#35) is a cute cafe and tearoom.
» GALERIE VIVIENNE OPENING HOURS: Every day from 10 am to 8 pm.
2. Galerie Colbert Paris – The Eternal Rival
2 rue Vivienne, Paris 2; M. Bourse L3 or Palais Royal Musée du Louvre Line 1, Line 7.
As you can see on the Paris Passages Map, the entrance to Passage Colbert (or Galerie Colbert) is on the same street than Galerie Vivienne so it is impossible to get lost! Actually, Passage Colbert (1826) was built to be in competition with Galerie Vivienne but in the end, it was less successful than its rival.
Don’t miss the richness of its neoclassical architecture, featuring a 15-meters diameter rotunda. This covered walkway does not have any shops but it hosts l’Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art and L’Institut National du Patrimoine.
» THE PERFECT BREAK: the restaurant Le Grand Colbert (2 rue Vivienne), with its unique Art Nouveau atmosphere, is perfect for a good meal or a hot chocolate in the afternoon.
» GALERIE COLBERT OPENING HOURS: Every day from 10 am to 8 pm.
3. Passage du Grand Cerf Paris – The Hidden Gem
145 rue de Saint-Denis, Paris 2; M. Étienne-Marcel Line 4
Passage du Grand Cerf is one of the most beautiful Parisian arcades. However, this is one of the most secret passages in Paris because it is not easy to find.
Le Passage du Grand Cerf Paris was built in 1825 on the site of the Hôtel du Grand Cerf, from which it took its name. Its pleasing interior is home to many artisan shops and high-quality jewelry boutiques. Don’t miss its spectacular 12 meter-high structure made of metal and wrought iron with a beautiful glass roof and its flourished balconies on the first floor.
» 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.
» PASSAGE DU GRAND CERF OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm. Closed on Sundays.
4. Passage des Panoramas Paris – The Oldest
11 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9; M. Richelieu-Drouot L8 and 9 or Grands Boulevards Lines 8 and 9
Passage des Panoramas Paris was built in the year 1799 and as you can see in the Passages Paris Map, it is located between the two arrondissements of Paris 9 and Paris 2.
Passage des Panoramas is the oldest of the surviving passages de 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 Paris passage is home to the Théâtre des Variétés which entertains Parisians since 1807. But most of all, Passage des Panoramas is known for its philately shops. If you like old stamps, postcards, and coins, Passage des Panoramas is the place to go.
» OUR MUST SEE’S: the French engraving and printer Henri Stern (#47) set up shop in this passage in 1834. Today the shop is working as a fancy cafe but you still can see the original details of the former shop. Check out the artists’ entrance to Théâtre des Variétés (#17). Tombées du Camion (#44) is a cute shop with interesting (sometimes weird) collectibles.
» THE PERFECT BREAK: Restaurant Noglu (#16), is one of the few gluten-free eateries in Paris. Enjoy some of the best of French wines at Les Racines (#8) specialized in trendy natural wines. La Crêperie (#62) proposes yummy crêpes and ice creams.
» PASSAGE DES PANORAMAS OPENING HOURS: Every day from 6 am to 12 am.
5. Passage Jouffroy Paris – The Most Genuine
10 boulevard de Montmartre, Paris 9; M. Grands Boulevards Lines 8 and 9
If you want to know how these passages couverts de Paris looked like during their heydays, 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, with 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.
» OUR MUST SEE’S: Pain d’Épices (#29) and La Boite à Joujoux (#41) are two old-fashioned toy shops worth a visit even if you don’t have kids. 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.
» PASSAGE JOFFROY OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.
6. Passage Brady Paris – The Most Exotic
43, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, Paris 10; M. Chateau d’Eau L4 or Strasbourg Saint-Denis Lines 4,8 and 9
It is easy to understand why Passage Brady is called “Little India” by the locals: this colorful and perfumed Parisian walkway is full of Indian, Pakistan, Mauritian and Reunion curry restaurants, spice shops and bazaars.
Passage Brady was built in the year 1828 by the merchant M. Brady from whom it took the name. Passage Brady was originally a beautiful covered passage with an elegant rotunda to compensate for its irregular design. During the Hausmanninan works, in 1854, the passage was cut 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 located on the first floor deserves a lunch break at Passage Brady.
» 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), a restaurant awarded by different Indian gastronomy prices.
» PASSAGE BRADY OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 11.30 pm; Sunday from 6 pm to 11.30 pm.
7. Passage Choiseul – The Longest
40 rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2; M. Pyramides, Lines 7 and 14
Passage Choiseul was named after d’Étienne-François de Choiseul-Beaupré-Stainville, War Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister during King Louis XV’s reign. As you can see on the Paris Covered Passages Map, this Parisian arcade is as long as this man’s name. Actually, with 190 meters of length, this is the longest of the covered passages in Paris!
Thanks to a deep recent restoration, the beautiful glass roof is now bathing the walkway with beautiful light. The first and second floors of this passage are occupied by shops while the third floor is mainly residential. The Thêatre des Bouffes Parisiennes (1857) has its secondary exit in the passage so there is a certain animation after the show.
» THE PERFECT BREAK: Go to Bio Burger (#46) for a fast-food break 100% bio. There is no better place to relax than the Zzen – Bar à Sieste (#29) where you can take a good nap.
» PASSAGE CHOISEUL OPENING HOURS: From Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm. Closed on Sundays.
8. Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé – Unique Atmosphere
120 rue Saint-Denis et 3 rue de Palestro, Paris 2; M. Étienne Marcel, Line 4
Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé was built in early 1828 by the architect Auguste Lusson between the Passage du Grand Cerf and the Passage de l’Ancre. It formed a long walk that allowed shelter from bad weather and traffic.
Years later, the passage was amputated of several meters during the construction of Boulevard de Sébastopol and the construction of Palestro Street. The new entrance to the passage opening on Palestro Street was the work of Henri Blondel, the architect who also designed the Stock Exchange of Paris. The two caryatids that frame the entrance represent Industry (left) and Commerce (right). At the key, a hive, inscribed in a cartouche, also translated the economic activity of the passage.
After the 1980s the passage was poorly maintained. The commercial spaces did not seek to attract visitors or enhance the passage, they were used primarily as warehouses.
Victim of a fire in the 1990s, the place was almost abandoned until the condominium found the necessary funds for the restoration works. From 2002 to 2008, the passage was completely renovated and little by little, Passage Bourg-l’Abbé is trying to find its lost charm again.
» THE PERFECT BREAK: admire the soil, canopies, and interior facades with beautiful painted decoration. All these elements are classified in the Inventory of Historic Monuments and protected. At the ends of the passage, a clock faces a barometer that no longer works.
» PASSAGE DE BOURG-L’ABBÉ OPENING HOURS: From Monday to Saturday from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Sleep in the Covered Passages of Paris
Hotel Chopin Paris is located inside one of the most beautiful covered passages in Paris, the Passage Jouffroy. Join the passage’s busy life during the day and enjoy its special atmosphere at night when the stores close. Have a quiet sleep, far from the busy streets of Paris! The hotel proposes very good deals if you book in advance.
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