When I first heard about the secret passageways of Paris, it went straight onto our travel itinerary! I spent quite some time researching which ones I wanted to visit, as not all the passageways are as picturesque as some. My top three were all in walking distance from each other and definitely worth a visit.
The passages were created at the end of the 18th century and were considered the world’s first malls. These arcades stretch all across the city of Paris in different arrondissements so you are sure to find one nearby, whichever neighbourhood you are staying in.
Passage du Grand Cerf
145 rue Saint Denis, 1st arrondissement
Although we visited around lunchtime, the shops in this passage were still closed. Nevertheless, this made for few people and quite a peaceful experience in the light-filled arcade.
The entrance and an alley just past the Passage du Grand Cerf.
Passage des Panoramas
11 Bd Montmatre, 2nd arrondissement
At a contrast the the last passage, this one was lively and bustling with people and activity. Lined with restaurants, shops and other quirky bits and pieces, this passage is definitely a throw-back to the heydays of Paris’ first arcades, in fact this passage is the oldest in Paris. Visit some cute vintage shops, grab a cupcake or crepe, or relax with a glass of wine and watch the people stroll by.
Beautiful heritage tile patterns.
So many shops, stalls and signage! A look through the passage and the entryway.
4 rue des Petits Champs, 2nd arrondissement
Galerie Vivienne is definitely a higher-end arcade with its light-flooded walkways, sumptuous tiles and pricey stores. But it is well worth the visit to witness the architectural style that throws back to its conception in 1823. It has now been registered as a historical monument.
The light-flooded dining atrium.
The two entrances: off Rue des Petits Champs and Rue Vivienne.
Magnificent tile mosaic floors.