I had asked our friend Cyril for an idea of something different to do for the day in Paris. Because the weather wasn’t supposed to be good he suggested a great walking tour through the Passages. I didn’t know about these little gems and I was so happy we did this!
The covered Passages (passages couverts) were the forerunners of department stores in Paris and appeared around the late 18th C. The idea was to cover the narrow streets with iron and glass to shelter shoppers from the elements such as rain, mud and horse drawn carriages at the time. It was an ingenious idea that commercialized the shops and created “hidden” blocks full of shops and restaurants. They invoke a mysterious and secret feeling as you stumble upon them, sometimes not even being able to find them!! Initially 60 or so were built, there are only around 25 of these left, and they weave throughout the heart of Paris.
Some of the passages are only 1 block long, others are opulent with high end shops and others look like they hadn’t been touched in 100 years. It was an amazing, fun and interesting look at a different side of Paris. Most of the Passages are located in the 2nd and 9th arrondissements. As you go through the different passages you must walk around the city to find the next one and it’s a great chance to get some sightseeing in!
We took the Metro to the Rambuteau stop and began our tour of the Passages there.
We stopped at a bakery, grabbed some coffee at a café across from the first Passage and kept walking through different ones until we arrived at the Louvre Museum. You will see a side of Paris that most tourist wouldn’t.
Don’t miss it!! It is super fun and you will be sooo surprised with some of the beautiful places inside of this passages.
Beijos e Tchau!