Monday, September 1, 2014

Around Town ~ the Passages

Seeings as to how this summer has been cold and wet, I thought it might be time to talk about those wonderful covered passages that certain parts of Paris are filled with.

There are wonderful on-line resources that will list the passages and where they can be found, so I won't go into too many details.  Here's an article from the Guardian.

Jude has a Passage Walk she likes to do.  It's a lot of fun and can keep you away from Mother Nature's more serious dousing.  She'll still have her way with you, though.  The wind can be pretty cold on cool days.

Jump either the #8 or #9 metros to les Grands Boulevards.  Head around the corner to take lunch at le Bouillon Chartier.  It can make for an interesting original 1920's in-expensive bistro style meal.  They'll add up your addition right there on the paper table cloth for you.  You shouldn't miss it, even if the line getting in can be long.

After lunch, continue up rue du Faubourg Montmartre (away from Boulevard Montmartre where the metro stops first deposited you) while keeping your eyes open for Passage Verdeau on your left.  Once inside you can gawk like the rest of us.  The iron frames holding the glass ceiling seem like they shouldn't be able to do what they're doing.

Wandering though Passage Verdeau and out the other side will lead you to spy the entrance just across the street to the Passage Jouffroy.  Art and toy stores can be found here.  Just up the stairs and around the corner will lead you to one of my favorite places in the city.  Skull, antlers and giant walking sticks will mark the spot.  If the elderly gent is in, take a moment to have him demonstrate his canne de marche.  You'll quickly get the point of the visit.

Continuing out the south porte you'll see you've come back to Boulevard Montmartre.  Just across the perhaps surprisingly wide boulevard is Passage des Panoramas.  This leads to a wonderful rabbit warren of passages.  You'll find the Galerie des Variete, and Galerie Feydeau as off-shoots of the main passage.  There are stamps and documents and little places to eat.

Once you've had your fill with the Bunny Warren, head down rue Vivienne.  A couple blocks down the street after you've passed the modern Bourse you'll come to the entrance to Galerie Vivienne on your left.  A wonderful old bookstore is found in the passage.  There used to be a photo gallery too, but I don't remember seeing it that last time we were there.  Recall that Vidocq had an apartment here.  One of the circular staircases leads to his hold haunt (unreachable by Mere Mortals, in who's numbers we count ourselves).

Having taken your time to enjoy as many things as possible you might be once again hungry.  If so, vous avea de la chance.  At the south end of Galerie Vivienne is the wonderful old Bistro Vivienne.  Jude and I had an amazing cote de boeuf pour deux some years ago.  If for nothing else, the patina of age is worth the experience, particularly if you're an Old Paris Romantic.

However, if your wallet is bigger than ours, the Grand Colbert is just around the corner.  It's patina of Old Paris History is buffed and shined even brighter and is a truly lovely looking place to dine.

There are many other passages sprinkled through the area.  If you're smitten, do a little research and you can have further amazing experiences.  There's even a passage that's given over to Indian food, both markets and restaurants.  All pleasantly out of the rain, of course.


  1. Nice walk! I like the aspect of the hidden bistros. In case the rain gets annoying again, here's an article about the "Top ten must-see weird museums":

    1. When the bistros are tasty, oh ya. :-)

      Thanks for the link to the weird museums. I've been to a few of them and they're amazing. Maybe I'll write something up about a few other places, too.