- You’ll discover one of the main Hidden Paris gems: its covered passages!
- Because your welcomer will show you the hidden gems that most tourists miss!
- You’ll learn why the arcades were like 19th-century Paris’s private shopping malls!
- Because it’s a perfect walking tour even on a rainy Paris day.
Hidden Paris Gems: the City’s Covered Passages
Arcades appeared in Paris at the end of the 18th century and mostly during the 19th. Built like Arabian souks with skylights as roofs, they allowed people to do shopping sheltered from the rain, in a place gathering different types of businesses. It was the new public places to be.
This walk will be almost entirely weather-proof and during festive time will provide you beautiful Christmas illumination settings. From Les Halles district to the Grands Boulevards, along galleries and passages, listening to your welcomer, you will admire showcases still remaining from the past centuries and how contemporary fashion creators are maintaining alive a long-lasting tradition of Parisian elegance.
At any time, you will pass along cozy coffee shops and tea rooms. The hardest for you? Choosing that one you’ll end up the tour. Could be challenging!
Before going further through Hidden Paris gems discovery, you will begin your tour in a charming uncovered passage. Flowery, lined with colorful windows, the Passage where your welcomer will take you to offers a small piece of countryside downtown Paris!
The next two passages, in the Halles district, will get your attention. Unlike to the previous, they’re covered with high glass roofs. Today very quiet, nevertheless very interesting places, they display some beautiful architectural details, as these wooden storefronts reminiscent from old shops.
Nothing is perfect… so you will have to walk a little “open space streets” to join chic arcades district. But the way is mainly made off pedestrian lanes, perhaps with few more galleries to spot.
Here you are, inside stylish and classy Vivienne and Colbert Galleries, a pure Hidden Paris gems. They were built to be rival and to compete regarding trade success. But nothing always worked as planned, you know. Your welcomer will tell you about their completely apart fates.
Next part of the tour is like to walk through a “Kingdom of Colums”. Have a glance on Palais-Royal where column multiplies like an obsession before joining a rare witness – among very few – of Parisian architecture during the French Revolution. The street in question was set even before arcades fashion period, and may have served a prototype. Thus, not to be missed, especially since most Parisians wouldn’t know where to locate it. Very close, other majestic columns will draw your attention. They’re belonging to Paris Stock Exchange building.
Last but not least, Panoramas, Jouffroy and Verdeau passages compose a nice linear sequence across the Boulevard. They might be less elegant but so popular and lively. Their industrial touch gives off a specific charm and you can find everything here: designer shops, old signs boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. A very pleasant and picturesque kind of “tunnel” to follow your welcomer through, till the proper café to have a drink and a pleasant chat with her… still in a covered passage of course!
Meeting Address: 14 Rue de Turbigo, 75001 Paris - In front of Café Etienne, Metro line 4, Etienne-Marcel station / ENDING POINT: Passage Jouffroy, Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris, closest metro station: Grands Boulevards, line 8 & 9
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