Galerie Vivienne&Galerie Colbert


Paris on Velib (the biggest bike-sharing in the world!) is even more beautiful.


Parisian arcades (passages) are one of the most beautiful spots in Paris- hidden and romantic they are also the places where the spirit of XIX century is so present even today. The modern arcade was invented in Paris, and, while the concept was imitated in other cities  (there are particularly fine mid-nineteenth century examples in Brussels as you can see in my article HERE) – the Parisian arcades remain the type of the phenomenon.

“In our own time, the arcades are, while not the most obvious of Paris’ tourist attractions and, indeed, frequented more by Parisians than by outsiders, a subject of discreet attention to the more discerning of international visitors to the French capital, who may window-shop and browse to their heart’s content among the milliners’, jewellers’, stamp-dealers, vendors of antique dolls, second-hand bookshops and traditional bistros, thanks to which the nineteenth-century structures have preserved (or re-created) their highly particular character.” (to see whole text about passageways of Paris by CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON click HERE)

Most of them were constructed between 1800 and 1830. All these arcades  (in their heyday they numbered between twenty and thirty) were located within a relatively small area of the city, on the right bank of the Seine.


Galerie Vivienne

“These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which customers will find everything they need”. W.Benjamin, The Arcades project


I recommend you A priori thé (I mentioned it HERE already) if you want to drink your coffee in peace surrounded by this gorgeous decor.


“The arcades offered the Parisians of the nineteenth century an alternative universe of consumption, in which they could walk free from the deafening noise of horse-drawn carriages and the discomforts of rain, snow or mud outside. They were “a shelter from showers, a refuge from winter wind or summer dust, a comfortable and seductive space to wander through”, and also “a route that is always dry and even, and a sure means of reducing the distance one has to walk. Amédée Kermel, 1831.” (C. Rollason, The passageways of Paris: Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and Contemporary Cultural Debate in the West)

IMG_7568An old library



Cute home made candles – shop Secret d’apothicaire


The arcades created a new form of spectacle. Idling, window-shopping and observing became an art, summed up in the French verb “flâner“, meaning to stroll, which, with its derivatives “flâneur” (stroller) and “flânerie” (the activity of strolling), became inextricably bound up with this special form of urban space.IMG_7587

Galerie Colbert


IMG_7601 IMG_7603 IMG_7604

As a historien of architecture I’m impressed with these passages. Don’t miss it when you visit Paris, be a “vrai Parisian” 🙂IMG_7605



  1. Thank you for a beautiful post! I enjoyed reading it and looking at the photos!

  2. Sublime, notre flâneuse qui rayonne comme la lune….clin d´oeil:-)

  3. prekrasno! definitivno moram jos koji put u Pariz, nemoguce je u 5 dana sve obici 😀

  4. […] For the origial post, click HERE. […]

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