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Degas Paris Walks: The Passages (revised)

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Please review and provide feedback on the shops, places to eat and drink and nearby attractions. I've revised it a bit to include pictures.


The Passages Walk

These forerunners of department stores appeared in Paris in 1780 when someone had the bright idea of covering narrow streets with iron and glass to shelter shoppers from the rain, muddy streets and horse-drawn carriages of pre-sidewalk Paris. After the Revolution, land speculators took advantage of property “liberated“ from the aristocracy and the Church. Winding between center-city buildings, the passages were an ingenious way to commercialize the insides of city blocks. The Passages were all the rage for a few decades and then passed by and left to be populated by book stores, stamp and coin shops and sellers of pipes, dolls, music boxes, posters and paintings. They weave through the heart of Paris and often evoke a secret, mysterious feeling. They are also often hard to find.

NOTE: Some folks who have taken this walk said that the weekend was kind of slow with many shops closed.


START AT METRO: Louvre-Rivoli.

The most upscale passages are clustered around the Palais Royal.

WALK NORTH UP RUE DU LOUVRE, THEN TURN LEFT AND WALK WEST ON RUE ST-HONORE UNTIL TURNING RIGHT ON RUE JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU AND FINDING

GALERIE VERO-DODAT.

Built in 1826, it one of the oldest and prettiest passages. It is dark and atmospheric, with mahogany paneling and an old-fashioned floor of diagonal black-and-white tiles. Developed by a pair of wealthy charcutiers who gave it their names. Nicely restored, the Véro-Dodat, perhaps more than any other passage, retains its original character, with 38 identical boutiques displaying their wares in narrow arched windows surrounded by gilt edging. Robert Capia‘s curiosity shop at #26 is popular.


www.insecula.com/salle/MS01318.html

visions-de-paris.com/gale...t-004.html


FROM EITHER END OF THE ARCADE, HEAD BACK TOWARDS THE LOUVRE. TURN RIGHT ON RUE ST-HONORE AND THEN TAKE A LOOK ON YOUR LEFT AT

LOUVRE DES ANTIQUAIRES. Enormous collection of antiques.

Across from the Louvre, this store offers three levels of fancy knickknacks and 250 vendors. It's just the place if you're looking for 30 matching Baccarat crystal champagne flutes from the 1930s, a Sèvres tea service from 1773, or a signed Jean Fouquet gold-and-diamond pin. Sun scene is fabulous, and there's a cafe with a variety of lunch menus. Pick up a free map and brochure of the premises from the information desk. Open Tue to Sun 9am to 7pm. Closed Sun July to Aug.


BACK ON ST-HONORE, YOU FACE TWO HUGE BUILDINGS, THE COMEDIE-FRANCAISE AND THE PALAIS-ROYALE. PASS AROUND THEM AND ENTER THE

JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYAL. A few quaint old shops are here.

The Palais Royal was originally known as the Palais Cardinal, for it was the residence of Cardinal Richelieu. The palace was later owned by the duc de Chartres et Orléans, who encouraged the opening of cafes, gambling dens, and other public entertainments. Though government offices occupy the Palais Royal and are not open to the public, do visit the Jardin du Palais Royal, an enclosure bordered by arcades. Don't miss the main courtyard, with the controversial 1986 Buren sculpture -- 280 prison-striped columns, oddly placed.

www.insecula.com/us/salle...46658.html


WALK OUT THE GARDEN AND TAKE A RIGHT ON RUE DES PETIT-CHAMPS TO FIND THE

GALERIE COLBERT AND GALERIE VIVIENNE.

Both are elegant and built in the 1820‘s. They have a light and airy feel to them with neoclassical reliefs and mosaic floors.

www.galerie-colbert.com/fr1.html

GALERIE VIVIENNE.

Si Tu Veux, where giant teddy bears guard the door, sells irresistible toys. And Jousseaume, is a bookshop with a great postcard selection.

www.insecula.com/us/salle/MS01126.html


GALERIE COLBERT.

Le Grand Colbert, a splendid period piece restaurant with high ceilings, gleaming brass fixtures and colorful friezes, has its own entrance at 2 Rue Vivienne. This lovely landmark serves lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and late supper for theatergoers from the nearby Comédie Française.

www.insecula.com/us/salle/MS01127.html

GO BACK OUT TO THE RUE DES PETITS-CHAMPS, TURN RIGHT AND WALK PAST THE BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE. THREE BLOCKS DOWN YOU WILL FIND ON YOUR RIGHT THE

PASSAGE CHOISEUL AND PASSAGE STE-ANNE: Both come alive at lunch time with workers at the sandwich bars, Chinese and Greek restaurants, art supply shops and book stores.

On the other side of the Palais Royal, the Passage de Choiseul is decidedly downscale - linoleum floor, walls with peeling paint, and safety net slung under the glass roof to catch falling bits. Despite its illustrious history - the still-lively Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens was founded here in 1855, and Paul Verlaine‘s first poems were published here. Today, Choiseul shows how passages can deteriorate.


LEAVE AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE PASSAGE CHOISEUL AND TURN RIGHT ON RUE ST-AUGUSTIN. FOLLOW IT TO THE END AND TURN LEFT ON RUE VIVIENNE. WALK TWO MORE BLOCKS AND TURN RIGHT ON RUE ST-MARC TO ARRIVE AT

PASSAGES DES PANORAMAS.

Five separate arcades intersect here: Galleries Feydeau, St-Marc, Des Varietes, Montmartre, and Long Passage Panama. The area has about a hundred shops.

With several branching corridors, the passage today, while not as elegant as some, is lively with shops, antiquaires and restaurants. Among these eateries is the tearoom l‘Arbre à Cannelle, in the gilded setting of a former chocolate shop. A few doors away is an engraving shop called Stern, which has been in business since 1834. Patronized by everyone from Lenin to Charles de Gaulle, it‘s worth a visit for its museum-quality display windows and wood-paneled interior.

www.insecula.com/us/salle/MS01180.html

FOLLOW THE PASSAGE DES PANORAMAS TO ITS END AND YOU WILL REACH BOULEVARD MONTMARTRE. CROSS IT TO ENTER

PASSAGE JOUFFROY (1846).

Across the Boulevard from the Panoramas, the Passage Jouffroy is quieter and prettier. It has a hotel (Hotel Chopin) and a wax museum, Musee Grevin. This arcade has toys, oriental rugs, books, posters, and walking canes. Don‘t miss the unique shop named for its owner, Thomas Boog, an artist who works with seashells. His extraordinary creations range from lamp stands and jewelry to entire rooms and grottos.

visions-de-paris.com/gale...y-001.html

www.insecula.com/us/salle/MS01141.html

CROSS RUE DE LA GRANGE BATELIERE AND ENTER THE

PASSAGE VERDEAU.

Verdeau, which continues the Jouffroy, is a haven for collectors, with antiques, classic film posters and vintage postcards.

visions-de-paris.com/gale...u-006.html

END

You might want to head west from here and explore the Grand Boulevard department stores.

www.insecula.com/us/musee/M0044.html

Eating and Drinking

A Priori The in the Galerie Vivienne. Casual chic atmosphere, excellent homemade pound cake. They also serve a good Saturday brunch. (The place is owned by an American. It's been the setting for several French commercials. But it can be crowded. Has great hot chocolate and superior scones.

Upscale, a bit pricey, the Vaudeville restaurant is across the street from the Bourse at 29 r. Vivienne in the 2nd.

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