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Degas Paris Walks: The Passages (revised)

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Jan 6th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Degas Paris Walks: The Passages (revised)

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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Jan 6th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for another good itinerary--especially on rainy days.
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Jan 6th, 2006, 12:06 PM
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A rainy day in Portland makes this even more perfect reading..thank you Degas!
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Jan 6th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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Great tour of the galleries; we've been through most of them. Bought a dollhouse at Pain d"Epice in the Passage Jouffroy which I'm slowly putting together and painting to resemble a boulangerie. On the last visit in September I purchased the furnishings for my creation; it makes for a great souvenir of Paris.

Another good restaurant nearby the Passage Jouffroy is Le Gavroche on the rue Saint Marc, just off rue Vivienne. The clientele is this tiny place are mostly businessmen and it's jam-packed every day.

Le Grand Colbert was featured in a movie..can't recall the title..with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. He's dating her daughter but they hook up; they talk of going to Paris to her fave resto for a birthday clebration. At the end of the movie she's gone by herself and he comes walking in.
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Jan 6th, 2006, 04:20 PM
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Thank you Degas. This took a lot of thought.

If one exits the Palais Royale at the right hand side, there is a tiny passage that acts as a shortcut to Colbert and Vivienne.

Le Vaudeville , our favorite restaurant in the area, has prices roughly equivalent to Le Grand Colbert. The building with the columns is the Bourse [stock exchange].There is a marvelous chocolate shop
a block up on the left.

Further on the right is my hotel--the Hotel Vivienne.

At the end of the Passage des Panoramas, "La Creperie" serves delicious coupes--ice cream sundaes and parfaits.

At the end of this walk near the Le Peletier Metro, there is a stop for the 42 bus, which you can take to the Eiffel Tower.

For more info, google for Passages Couverts and the english translation.



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Jan 6th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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I can add that there is a monthly brocante/flea market, small but of excellent quality, outside the Bourse. I am sorry but I don't know which dates of the month, but it is a monthly event.
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Jan 6th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Thanks Degas, for this post and the Notre Dame Ile St-Louis walk. I am going to Paris for the first time in April, so if you have any more up there in your head just let 'em fly!
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Jan 6th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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Thanks degas.

I too like the Vaudeville. I think it's a great restaurant.

Just to the left (heading north) of the entrance to the Passage Jouffroy is the Paris Hard Rock Cafe. Not a place to eat in my book. But if you're in the mood for a Manhattan made with smooth, blended Canadian whisky, they can deliver.
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May 19th, 2006, 11:56 AM
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I wanted to share my own experience of this walk, and ended up writing two and a half pages on the computer!! Since it's so long I will post it here in parts.

Pt. I


It was dreary and rainy in Paris today, so I thought I’d cross off one of the items on my to-do list and take Degas’ Passages Walk. So glad I did! Degas, this walk was really lovely, and your directions were unfailingly clear (which isn’t to say that I didn’t get lost a couple of times). I thought I’d post a sort of mini-report of how it went, in case people are interested.

After finding Rue du Louvre, a task complicated by the giant “Galerie Vero-Dodat” sign pointing in entirely the wrong direction, I had no trouble reaching my first galerie. It was quiet and there were very few people inside, at 16:30 on this Friday afternoon. I expected to see more tourists, but was pleasantly surprised. The galerie is as beautiful as Degas’ description, with lovely gold touches in the wooden moldings and lots of pretty shops. It’s a small passage, but really had a very old feel to it, and was one of my favorites.

After this galerie I walked past the Louvre des Antiquaires, and nearly skipped it. It has a very intimidating façade, with frosted glass doors (closed, of course), so you have no idea what you’re stepping into. I finally went in, though, and it wasn’t frightening at all—it isn’t a store, but more of a small shopping mall, so you can just window shop without worrying about annoying the storekeepers. It’s a big place and easy to get lost in, but the stores are intriguing—lots of Chinese antique wares, classic French paintings and sculptures, rows and rows of miniature French soldiers and flag bearers, really breathtaking antique furniture, that kind of thing.

My favorite BY FAR, however, was a store at #3 (I think), called “La fille du pirate,” though you can only see the name from the street windows. There are two rooms packed full with model schooners and boats, ships in bottles, wooden helms, all sorts of things used on board—small wooden chess sets, compasses, corkscrews with intricate wooden handles (I could perfectly imagine a sailor carving it to pass the time), old globes and maps, small tabletop mermaids and sculptures that looked like they belonged on a captain’s desk…I really adored this shop! There was also, randomly, a full suit of armor, which was at least fun to look at.

So lesson learned: do not skip the Louvre des Antiquaires!
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May 19th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Next came the Jardin du Palais Royal. While the odd Buren sculptures may seem boring to me and may have caused quite the polemique, they sure are a kid-pleaser. Children were laughing and playing soccer all around this part of the Palais.

The jardin itself was fantastic; much better than the last time I came, in late autumn, with my architecture class. The trees and bushes were bursting with green, and the fountain was on. The trees were my favorite; they’re trimmed in the typically French fashion—into giant cubes—and are set up in two rows, close together. When you walk under them they create a wide but dim and intimate path; I felt like I was in Lover’s Lane from ‘Anne of Green Gables.’ The stores rimming the garden (under covered walkway) have some gems, such as Guillaumot: Graveur-Heraldiste, a store packed with old musty books and, most importantly, lots of old documents. In the window letters from Henry IV and Napoleon were on display, which was very cool (though I’m amazed that anyone could read their cursive!), and on the right side of the jardin as you face AWAY from the palace (to the jardin exit).

Galerie Vivienne was pretty but, as Degas said, a bit worn. The ceiling was fairly grimy and the intricate tile floors, though a bit pretty, were worn uneven by years of treading shoppers’ feet. I did like some of the stores here, especially a couple of beautiful and exotic fabric shops, a lovely and not-intimidating old bookstore towards the back, and a big airy shop filled with colorful, elegant fake flowers. At this galerie I first encountered (or noticed) the odd innovation of “outdoor” cafes in indoor galleries; I’m not quite sure what the point is, other than crowding the walking space!

Galerie Colbert was very glamorous, well kept-up, tall, bright and airy, with a somewhat interesting dome, but the entire passage is empty. Aside from the (very attractive) restaurant, there aren’t any stores—or people, practically.

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May 21st, 2006, 07:39 AM
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Passage Choiseul/Ste. Anne is kind of nice, but no different from any modern-day passage you can find all over Paris. It doesn’t have an old, elegant or charming feel to it, and isn’t particularly nicely decorated. There are many lower-end clothing stores (mostly for young people, I think), a couple of used music/book stores, some traiteurs chinois—which really gives an idea of the atmosphere—and that’s about it. Ste-Anne, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s just one small, unmarked hall that you can turn into from the middle of Choiseul, and I’m not sure there are any stores there—all I saw was lots of bright pink paint and closed gates.

Passage des Panoramas brings you back to the realm of nicer arcades; to get there you walk to the end of rue St-Augustin and turn left to walk past the front of la Bourse (which confused me for a few moments). When I was there an open-air market had set up; I strolled through it but didn’t buy anything, since I wasn’t short at food chez moi. I did browse one stall that had lots of CDs—American and French, classical music, oldies, etc.—for 3,80 each.

I was getting slightly tired at this point so I didn’t spend much time in Panoramas, though it was pretty nice. It hasn’t got the grandiose or stunning air of the first passages I saw, but it is pretty and has its own personality—old-fashioned signs from each store stick out into the walkway overhead, like something from Diagon Alley.
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May 21st, 2006, 08:33 AM
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BRAVO!!!
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May 21st, 2006, 10:20 AM
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I think that the Galerie Colbert has been taken over by the Paris university system.
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May 21st, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Yes, I think it has been too, as there were Paris IV, VI, etc. signs strung from the ceiling. Oddly enough, however, I went on a weekday and saw no students.
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May 21st, 2006, 12:36 PM
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Right across the street is Passage Jouffroy, which was cool (I found it just as crowded and loud as Panoramas, however—more so, perhaps). I could NOT, in any of the 4 times I walked this passage, find the Thomas Boog shop. This was a disappointment, but some other stores made up for it—a somewhat generic movie-memorabilia store, for example, that had dedicated a whole window to Audrey Hepburn! Aside from this pleasant surprise, there was also a fascinating “Objets de curiosite” shop, M&G Segas, that had a large assortment of walking canes in its window—mostly wooden, with beautiful carved heads in the shape of ducks, snakes, eagles, or just intricately painted designs.

Lastly came Passage Verdeau, which was about five feet away from Jouffroy. Walking from Panoramas to Jouffroy to Verdeau really brought to mind what shopping in the passages must have been like in their heyday—my architecture professor said that originally, you could travel from one end of Paris to another with barely a foot stepped outside. Verdeau was very small and a gave a low-key ending to the walk; it was not glamorous at all but had some nice art and antique galleries.

And that was my walk! To finish it off I headed to les grands magasins and took the metro home, stopping off at Le Notre to buy a small assortment of chocolates for dessert. They are sitting on my desk right now, begging to be eaten though I haven’t had dinner yet!
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May 21st, 2006, 01:06 PM
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bookmarking
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May 21st, 2006, 03:25 PM
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nice!
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May 22nd, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Sorry that was so long! I hope it amused or helped at least a few people. To add a few precisions:

-make sure you exit at the opposite end of the Jardin du Palais Royal, not where you entered!! This confusion led to the longest period of lost-ness for me

- as I said, Galerie Ste-Anne doesn’t really exist, so don’t waste your time looking for it! And if you want to anyway, enter through Choiseul instead of walking up rue Ste-Anne to find it

- keep in mind that you will be outside just as much as you will be inside for this walk; so if it’s raining make sure to cover up anyway! I lucked out and only hit rain when I was on the bus/metro, but others may not be so fortunate…

- the walk took me about 2 hours to complete, but I did not make any stops or enter any stores; I also only briefly passed through a couple of the passages

Enjoy your walk!!
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Jun 12th, 2006, 09:25 PM
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ttt
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Aug 16th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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Amazingly well done and enticing!
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