Paris is an unmissable capital of Europe for a tourist. Its streets, boulevards, monuments and buildings are undeniably part of its charms and must-sees when visiting the city. You also need to take the time to discover its art masterpieces, its traditions and its culture, as well as its gastronomy that everyone has heard about. On the other hand, there are some hidden gems in the capital. Hidden covered passages that you can luckily stumble upon when wandering around Paris. Magnificent architectural gems, few tourists have discovered all of them and they are mainly used by the locals. Mainly built in the XIXth century, they have been mainly untouched, and it feels like going back to the past when visiting them. There are about ten of them that we would recommend to you, as they are the biggest and most beautiful ones. All situated on the right bank, they can all be visited in 2-3 hours. From the Grand Cerf Passage to the Vivienne Gallery, you will get a glimpse of the secret life in Paris. Situated in a 5-km radius, they will also you to discover the 1st, 2nd , 3rd, 9th and 10th arrondissements.
The Grand Cerf passage is one of the most famous covered passages of the 2nd arrondissement. Created in 1825, it got his name from the location it was built on, the Grand Cerf Hotel. You can admire its beautiful glass and iron roof while strolling along the 117m of the passage. We suggest you also have a look at the shops in the passage as they feature unique artists, designers and creators. You can enter the passage either by the “Rue Dussoubs” or the “Rue Saint-Denis”. If you enter by the Rue Saint-Denis, watch out for the engraved sign “Pas Sage”, a play word between the words “passage” and “naughty”. Will you be able to spot the head of the deer along the passage?
Located in the 3rd arrondissement, this passage was opened in 1827. Named after the Duke of Vendôme, this passage is quite different from the previous one, as it has been left as it was, almost never renovated. The interesting architectural parts of the passage can still be admired; however, it is slowly becoming more and more abandoned. You can be sure that it is only visited by locals. Some shops are still opened in this passage, but they are slowly but surely, disappearing and this place starts to look like the perfect Urbex passage, in the middle of a busy capital. You can enter the passage either by the “Rue Béranger” or the “Place de la République”, one of Paris’ busiest places.
The Cairo passage was opened in 1798 during Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt (where it got its name from). On the façade of the passage, the carved Egyptian goddess, Hathor and some hieroglyphs can be seen. At the time of the opening of the passage, the Egyptian culture was extremely trendy. Shop-wise, this passage won’t be the most interesting for you, as nowadays, the shops mainly sell to fashion manufacturers (you can find some mannequins in the some of the shops). You can enter the passage by the “Rue Saint-Denis” or the “Place du Caire”. Careful however, this passage is only opened during the week!
Also called Little India, this passage was opened in 1828 and is located in the 10th arrondissement. It is also split into two different parts, a covered one and an open-air one. Walking along this passage is like travelling to Asia: the shops, the restaurants, the spicy smell and the beautiful colourful costumes will offer a glimpse into the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cultures. You can take the time to buy exotic products or even rent some traditional costumes! It is possible to enter the passage through “Boulevard de Strasbourg” or the “Faubourg Saint-Martin”.
This passage got his name from Mr Verdeau, one of the inventors of linen rental for hotels. Located in the 9th arrondissement, you will appreciate its beautiful canopy. Shops-wise, you can find art dealers, book sellers and buyers of rare books while strolling along this small passage, decorated with black and white tiles. You can also try to find the clock in this passage, which is the original one and which has then been there for more than a hundred years. You can enter by “Rue de la Grange-Batelière” or by “Faubourg-Montmartre”.
This passage was built on the ancient location of the Hotel des Princes, in the 2nd arrondissement. When it was opened in 1860, it was first called “Passage Mirès”. Later on for some estate issues, it was destroyed. However, it was rebuilt the exact same way in 1995. While visiting this small passage, you can take your time to admire the black and white tiles, the glass and iron ceiling and the lamps that will enlighten your visit. This passage is also dedicated to toys, so if you’re travelling with kids, you can be sure you will spend quite some time there. For the best experience, you can enter the passage by le “Boulevard des Italiens”.
The Panoramas’ passage is one of the oldest in Paris. Located in the 9th arrondissement, it is filled with cute stores. It would be perfect for a rainy day! This passage got his name from the “Panoramas”, some giant 360°-paintings of the city that were exposed in what used to be at the actual location of the covered passageway, the hotel Montmorency-Luxembourg. Nowadays, this passage has become one of the min locations in Paris for philately (stamp collecting) and you find shops where you can buy rare ones or exchange some if you’re a collector. You can enter this passage either by the “Boulevard Montmartre” or the “Rue Saint-Marc”.
This gallery will surprise you by its wonderful glass-made rotunda. Located in the 2nd arrondissement, it was built in 1827 to rival the Vivienne Gallery. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet the same success as the other gallery. It is now used by numerous institutions related to the history of the Arts and cultural heritage. It is also the home of some research art laboratories of famous Parisian universities like La Sorbonne. If you are careful, you can also admire some Art Nouveau decorations near some of the restaurants of the gallery. You can either enter this gallery by the “Rue Vivienne” or the “rue des Petits-Champs”.
This gallery, situated in the 1st arrondissement, is your typical Parisian Gallery. Smart, Chic, Elegant. Its decoration is simple with its black and white tiles and its glass roof. At its entrance “rue Bouloi”, you can spot the statues of the God Hermes and the mystical creature of the Satyr. At the time of the diligences, passengers who would find themselves waiting for them could go to these covered passages to protect themselves from the rain or feel warmer. In the meantime, they could go and shop which contributed to the fame of theses passages and the fact that they were not demolished. You can also enter this passage by the “Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau”.
Last but not least, the Vivienne Gallery. This luxurious passage was built in 1823 and his nowadays home to prêt-à-porter shops, tea houses, delicatessen shops, bookshops… Not only it is a place where it is enjoyable to shop, but it is also a great place to admire. You must take some time to have look at the beautiful glass roof of the gallery, as well as the incredibly detailed mosaic floor. Like its rival, the Colbert Gallery, the Vivienne Gallery also has a glass rotunda. To visit this gallery, you can either enter by “Rue Vivienne” or “Rue des Petits-Champs”.