You just arrived in Paris, and you’re already fed up with the crowded boulevards? Maybe you just looked at the weather and got scared of spending your whole vacation under the rain? Don’t worry, Paris is full of secret covered passages! In this article, I will take you away from the famous Parisian landmarks and show you the charming covered passages that each have their own atmosphere.
The covered passages of Paris are shortcuts from one street to another that were constructed in the early 19th century inside the existing buildings. They all have beautiful glass ceilings that let the sun shine in and allow you to enjoy the beautiful architecture of the passages.
Before the Champs-Elysées took all the spotlight, the covered passages were actually the place to go to find the latest trendy clothes! Today, the covered passages welcome very diverse shops, from luxurious clothing stores to little French restaurants. I will give you all the good addresses!
Whether you want to discover a hidden part of Paris or you just want to find a nice spot to take a coffee, this article is made for you. So, if you’re ready to take a trip to the past in the Paris of the 19th century, this is the top 5 covered passages not to miss in Paris.
1.) Galerie Vivienne: the fancy one!
The first gallery in our top 5 covered passages not to miss in Paris is of course, the Galerie Vivienne. This gallery is definitely one of the prettiest passages you’ll find in Paris! This passage was inaugurated in 1826 under the direction of François-Jacques Delannoy.
Take a look at the ground: you’re standing on a beautiful mosaic created by Giandomenico Facchina that gives all its charm to the gallery. I like to just walk in this beautiful passage and admire the view, but this is also the perfect covered passage to do a little shopping.
If you’re looking to renew your wardrobe in Paris, this gallery is full of clothing stores with very luxurious brands such as Jean-Paul Gaultier. (However, if you’re on a budget, this gallery may not be for you.) My personal favorite is the wine store, Legrand Filles & Fils, where you can be sure to find the perfect bottle of wine to bring back home.
4 Rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris – Metro stations: Pyramides, Louvre-Rivoli, Bourse
Opening hours: 8:30 am – 8:30 pm
2.) Passage des Panoramas: the philatelists’ favorite passage
The second stop on our list is the Passage des Panoramas, one of the oldest covered passages of Paris: it was opened in 1799! A lot of the original facades of the stores have been kept, which gives it a charming atmosphere. This passage is quite famous among stamp collectors; so, if you’re in love with old stamps and postal cards, you should definitely go check out this gallery and add a Parisian souvenir to your collection! If you’re looking for a place to eat, I recommend the Gyoza bar. This Japanese restaurant only serves gyozas, a sort of Japanese raviolis: they are delicious and not too expensive!
11 Boulevard Montmartre, 75002 Paris – Metro stations: Grands Boulevards, Richelieu-Drouot
Opening hours: 6 am – 00 pm
3.) Passage Jouffroy, the “modern” one
Constructed in 1845, this passage is right after the Passage des Panoramas. It was the first one to be built only with metal and glass, which made it really modern at the time. Just at the entrance of the passage, you can see the famous Grévin museum where you can take a selfie with your favorite singers’ wax statues! If you decide to go to the museum, the exit is actually in the passage so you have no excuse not to visit it afterwards.
This is also the perfect passage to find an original gift to bring back home. I personally love the old book stores and the beautiful “Pain d’Epices” toy shop that sells old-fashioned dolls, wooden toys or tiny furniture for dollhouses. This shop will definitely bring back your childhood memories!
By the way, if you still haven’t tried French pastries, the tea room “Le Valentin” is a good place to start. They make delicious “millefeuilles”, my personal favorite.
10-12 boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris – Metro stations: Grands Boulevards, Richelieu-Drouot
Opening hours: 7 am – 9:30 pm
4.) Passage Brady, the Little India of Paris
To follow with our top 5 covered passages not to miss in Paris, let’s talk about Passage Brady. This covered passage is pretty original. Its nickname “Little India” is a big hint! Although it was also constructed in the early 19th century, this passage doesn’t quite have the same spirit as the other ones on the list.
Indeed, Passage Brady soon became an Indian passage: the beautiful colors and the delicious smell will definitely make you forget the Parisian streets! If you’re an Indian food enthusiast, you should go inside the Velan grocery shop which sells Indian spices and specialties. You’ll find everything you need to make your own Indian recipes!
If you’re like me and don’t really like to cook but prefer to sit down at a nice restaurant, this passage is full of Indian restaurants. I would recommend the restaurant Pooja, which serves really good (but spicy!) Indian food for a really reasonable price (around 15euros).
46 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris – Metro stations: Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, Jacques Bonsergent
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 11:30 pm; Sunday: 6 pm – 11:30pm.
5.) Galerie Véro-Dodat, the hidden gem of the neighborhood
To end this list, the Galerie Véro-Dodat is not the most famous covered passage in Paris but it’s definitely worth checking out. The passage really surprises with its calmness and silence, which is perfect if you just spent the day in the crowded Louvre museum, really close to the Galerie. The charm of the passage resides in the beautiful decorations: you’ll see the beautiful shops’ facades, and I also like the ceiling that is not entirely made of glass like most of the covered passages but also has nice engravings.
In this passage, you’ll find art galleries and luxury shops; it was also chosen by the famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin who created the well-known red soles shoes. If you’re a musician, you should stop by the François Charles music shop that sells beautiful guitars, ukuleles or banjos. Keep an eye open: really famous French musicians stopped in this store!
This passage also has a nice little restaurant, with affordable prices, called “Restaurant Véro-Dodat”. If you like the quiet ambiance of the gallery, this restaurant is the perfect spot to end your visit!
19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris – Metro stations: Louvre-Rivoli, Palais Royal Musée du Louvre
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 7 am – 10 pm; Closed on Sundays.
There you go! Now that you know about this top 5 covered passages, you’ll be able to brag about knowing “the hidden Paris” to all your Parisian friends! My advice: look around when you walk in Paris, there are more than 20 covered passages just waiting for you to discover them!