Covered Passages

17 May 2018

There were 137 in 1828, today only 24 are left. Symbols of the Industrial revolution and modern capitalism, the covered passages gave rhythm to the capital life during the first half of the 19th century.
Ancestors of department stores, the covered passages in Paris are a fabulous witness of Paris history and its extraordinary development at the dawn of the 20th century.



If you are not Parisian, you probably don’t know that behind numerous boulevards in the city hide more or less secret paths, that we call “the covered passages” and that shelter top of the range shopping galleries.

Built for the majority in 19th century, these galleries drilled in the middle of buildings and surmounted by window ceilings constitute a typical architectural curiosity of Paris. The majority of the passage house shops, tearooms or restaurants. The covered passages are arches built between buildings to improve the trafic and create shopping malls. The Parisians appreciate to walk while contemplating the tempting shop windows, shielded from the rain and from the mud, because at that time, sidewalks didn’t exist in Paris.

Situated on the right bank of the Seine and near the Grand boulevards, these structures were created for rich customers. The fashion of the passages began to decline from 1860 with the arrangement of department stores on the Grand boulevards drilled during the works of the baron Hausmann.

Duration 1H30

Meet your guide outside the metro Palais Royal (Line 1 and Line 7) in front of the Comédie Française.

Thanks to this exceptional visit, discover five secret passages situated on the right bank of Paris. Your guide will tell you some fascinating anecdotes of bygone days, the Romantic period. Passage of the Panoramas, Galery Vivienne, Passage Jouffroy … This visit will make you go through some of the most beautiful passages of Paris, and will dip back you into the atmosphere of XIXth century Paris.You will also visit other passages less known of the general public, but as important, with an historic interest, which will allow you to understand how the passages revolutionized the commerce and the life of the city.

In these passages reigns an atmosphere of village with a chic look, filled with shops, art galleries and coffes, among which some kept the same appearance as 150 years ago.
Through the Grands boulevards, this guided tour will also be the opportunity to talk about the works of the Baron Haussmann, its architecture, its transformations, and the new face given to the capital at the end of the 19th century. On the way, you will also visit luxurious palaces as the Palais Royal, which abounds of anecdotes and of unusual stories!
Not to be missed, let yourself be tempted by this guided tour of the covered passages, a very Parisian and original invention that was copied in province and all over the world from Prague to Moscow.

  • The visit takes place whatever is the weather report
  • Please wear comfortable walking shoes.

Meeting Point


Leave a comment