When in Paris ..... Passages

After our Provence adventure, my husband returned home and I stayed behind in Paris to spend a week with my brother, just to visit, to talk a lot, and to be the best of friends. However, for the first two days he himself was still away on a work trip, so I had two days in Paris to myself. The first day I spent shopping with Justine, my French sister-in-law (by the way, what an education to see how the French girls shop for clothing!!) The second day, when Justine had to return to work, I visited the many passages in Paris’s 2e arrondissement. There are about twenty nineteenth-century narrow shopping arcades with steel and glass roofs, slowly being restored and now home to modern fashion stores, old fashioned second hand bookstores and art galleries.

I started at Galerie Véro-Dodat with its beautiful panelled mahogany shop fronts. My favourite had to be the cordonnerie (an artisan shoe-maker workshop), with a pricelist that includes redoing the famous red Louboutin soles. Makes a lot of sense, given that just at the end of the passage is Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, home to the shoe designers’ studio.

Galerie Vivienne, full of fashion designers, is also the home to an amazing antiquarian bookstore dating back to the passage’s earliest days. I loved the décor of Bistrot Vivienne, and was amazed at the gorgeous children’s clothes, but the store that really fascinated me turned out to be a very funky décor/gift store called Abis la Belette.



The Passage des Panoramas is the place to browse for bric-a-brac and has a few second hand postcard, coin and stamp dealers. The print shop, Stern, dates back to 1867 and has kept its original décor. It is also filled with quite a few very charming eateries.


Just across the street, Passage Jouffroy is another interesting place to browse with shops selling eccentric walking canes, fittings and furnishings for doll’s houses and beautiful old film posters. I love the way the bookstore spills out into the narrow passage. Passage Verdeau and Passage des Princes are also worth a visit. 

Image credits: All photography by me