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Paris, the city of love, light, and well-kept secrets. Among its cobbled streets and iconic landmarks lie lesser-known yet equally fascinating treasures: the Parisian passages. These overlooked jewels of Parisian architecture have a rich and mysterious history dating back to the 19th century.

Often referred to as "covered passages," Parisian passages are covered shopping arcades built primarily during the first half of the 19th century. Their design was revolutionary at the time, providing Parisians with an elegant refuge from the elements while housing a multitude of shops, cafes, and theaters. Though some passages have been neglected over the years, many have been restored and continue to enchant visitors with their old-world charm.


The Passage des Panoramas: Paris' Most Famous

One of Paris's most famous passages is the Passage des Panoramas, inaugurated in 1799. Located in the heart of Paris, in the 2nd arrondissement, this historic passage was a favorite haunt of Parisian elites in the 19th century, attracting art lovers, writers, and strollers alike. Its enduring popularity is owed in large part to its preservation of yesteryear charm, with antique shops, bookstores, and traditional restaurants.


The Passage Jouffroy

In the 9th arrondissement, the Passage Jouffroy is also one of the oldest passages and has been frequented since 1846. It is renowned for its diverse shops but particularly for its magnificent wrought-iron glass roof and slate-paved floor. 

But these are just a few examples among many passages scattered throughout Paris. Each passage has its own fascinating history and secrets to reveal. Some passages hide forgotten architectural treasures, while others have been the scene of significant historical events.


The Passage du Grand Cerf

Take, for example, the Passage du Grand Cerf, in the 2nd arrondissement. Built in 1825, this passage is remarkable for its impressive carved wooden structure, rising over three levels. Architecture enthusiasts will be dazzled by the exquisite details of this historic building, while history buffs can imagine the scenes of Parisian life that unfolded within its walls over the centuries.


Parisian Passages Today

But Parisian passages are not just relics of the past; they are also venues for the city's contemporary life. Many passages now house designer boutiques, art galleries, and trendy cafes, attracting an eclectic crowd of Parisians and visitors from around the world. Yet, despite their undeniable charm, Parisian passages often remain unknown to tourists navigating the capital's bustling streets. Their discretion is part of their allure, offering visitors the opportunity to discover a hidden aspect of Paris away from the tourist crowds.

By exploring the Parisian passages, one discovers not only the history and architecture of the city but also its very soul. These covered shopping galleries reflect the diversity and cultural richness of Paris, offering a unique insight into the daily lives of Parisians through the centuries.

So, the next time you wander the streets of Paris, take the time to venture into one of its hidden passages. You may just uncover a world of hidden wonders right beneath your feet, waiting to be explored.


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Book with us and win exclusive gifts!

From July 26 to August 11 and from August 28 to September 8, our Parisian hotels are organizing their own games, with many pizes to be won, including Aurélie Bidermann bracelets and Poiray watches worth €2,190

At Inwood Hotels, everyone wins, as part of tickets are turned into donations for a disability sport program called “Association Sportive Handi Jeunes de Paris”.