The Galerie Véro-Dodat is one of the most beautiful in town.
Intimate and luxuous the galerie, built in 1826, was the first one to be classified and protected by "Historic Monuments" in 1965. It was named after its two promotors. All decoration is Restauration Style and the Passage was in the first ones to be lighted by gas.
To be seen :
- "Il bisonte" , leather designer ;
- FMR, art books editor;
- A violin-maker music store;
- Antiques shops;
- The "cafede lEpoque" where Gérard de Nerval used to drink before theater.
Going out of the galery, follow the rue Montesquieu, just across.
A small eye drop passing near the sauna Univers Gym, close for a long time after a fire.
Anyway, the walk continues straight ahead to go in the Jardins du Palais-Royal (Royal Palace Gardens) with its artistic Colonnes de Buren (ok, it is a garden, but no cruising here ;-)
Instead of flowers and neo-classical architecture, do prefer arcades and its boutiques from another century.
The vast group of appartments and boutiques under the arcades was built in the late 18th Century, by the king's cousin, Philippe Egalite, Duque of Orleans around his parisian home : the Palais Royal. There were always open to the public and became a must of the parisian nights. Gambling houses, prostitutes and cabarets gave to the place a bad reputation. It was a homosexual crusing spot too, and odd things used to happen in a tavern of the arcades some chroniclers say !
Closer from our days, some writers like Colette or Jean Cocteau lived in Palais Royal.
To be seen passing the right side (galerie de Valois) :
- Shiseido salons, to choose make-up in an ideal copy of a 19th Century shop ;
- Joyce, for the japonese creations ;
- The Intimate boutique of Siki from Somalia, all red-decorated, for the creation of jewellery, the mixed but always surprising antiques... and the coats from the 30's ;
- Le Prince Jardinier (Prince Gardener), for those who have a garden AND a castle.
North end of the gardens, between the columns along rue de Beaujolais, opera singers sometimes offer free concerts on Saturdays or Sundays. A nice pause !
For those who like the atmosphere of the arcade and want more, the two other galleries have some unusual shops too (For others, don't read the following frame) :
To be seen in Galerie du Beaujolais :
- The Anna Joliet music-boxes shop (located just down the former Colette's apartment) ;
- Le Vefour. Famous restaurant located here since the 18th century.
To be seen in Galerie de Montpensier
- L'Escalier d'Argent "The Silver Stairs", small antiques and vests (!) shop ;
- Didier Ludot, antique dealer for "haute couture" dresses (to find a Courrege gown from 1972, or an original Dior or Balmain dress) ;
- Les Drapeaux de France, "Flags of France" for those who like all sorts of leaden military figures. A must.
Go back to the Galerie de Valois for the next step of the tour.
Exit the arcades rue de Beaujolais but do not wait at number 18, for the Club 18, to open, it's too early ! Climb instead the few stairs at N°8, to reach the tiny Passage des Deux Pavillons.
To be seen :
- The tiny Boutique Small Is Beautiful, to find something to wear for your nephews and nieces (or children) under the age of 6.
Across the street Rue des Petits-Champs, on the right, is the entrance of Galerie Vivienne.
Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823, with stucco bas-reliefs, floor mosaics and a glass rotunda, is one of the poshest of the passages.
There you will find numerous shops to visit.
To be seen :
- The incredible choice of design or classic corkscrews in Cave Lucien Legrand filles et fils (where lots of good wines can be found !) and you can have lunch too !
- The Wolff et Descourtis with their fancy silk scarves ;
- >The beautiful artificial flowers shop of Emilio Robba ;
- " A Priori The ", tearoom with an incredible hot chocolat and scones. Large and good salads at lunch too ;
- The Jousseaume bookstore, created in 1826 and which the famous lesbian author Colette and famous gay author Aragon frequented.
At the end, Galerie Vivienne turns. Not going there and see the first shop of the fashion creator Jean-Paul Gaultier would be a shame !
From this part of Galerie Vivienne, the majestic Galerie Colbert can be reached.
Galerie Colbert has a stunning rich decoration, first of which, the huge glass dome and rotunda. No shops can be found here as the passage is now part of the National Institute of Art History. But the access is free anyway.
Come back to the Galerie Vivienne, turn left to exit Vivienne street and take it to the right. Follow the back side of the historic buildings of the Bibliotheque Nationale. Up in the Vivienne street, you will cross Quatre-Septembre street and see the Bourse (stock exchange) and turn right in the Saint-Marc street.
A small sauna pause ? Euro mens club is at N°10, rue St Marc.
It's right the entrance of the famous Passage des Panoramas.
The Passage des Panoramas was named after the 2 large rotondas with 360° painted panoramas which were at the entrance of the Passage in 19th Century as an attraction.
No so large and full of advertising posts, the passage make a link to the Grands Boulevards and its theaters district. The back door of the theatre des Varietes where Offenbach became famous is in this passage. At the end of 19th century, the Academie Jullian, who accepted women, was widely frequented by lesbian young painters.
To be seen :
- the facade and the inside of the engraver Stern's boutique, here since 1840 ;
- Cario Cezkam Ateliers, for its furniture and accessories creations ;
- the shops of coins, stamps or postcards collectors ;
- the lovely wooden shop front of the tearoom "larbre à cannelle".
Directly across the Grands Boulevards, is the entrance of Passage Jouffroy.
Passage Jouffroy is close to the waxworks Grevin Museum (the french Madame Tusseau), one of the oldest parisian attraction, recently renewed. In a very kitch atmosphere from late 19th Century the museum displays wax figures of historics or famous (in France anyway) persons.
The cosy entrance of hotel Chopin is in the end of the Passage.
Follow the turns of the galery to reach Rue de la Grange Bateliere.
To be seen :
- "La boutique des tuniques", with clothes to make all travesties of the world jalous ;
- "le palais Oriental", for its fake Orient ;
- the different toys and doll houses shops ;
- "La tour des Delices", to fall for the delicious pastries. Tea room or to go portions. Tables for lunch ;
- the galerie Segas, for its antique canes ;
- The large cinema store with its books, photos and posters.
At the end of passage Jouffroy just cross the road to enter Passage Verdeau.
To be seen :
- "Le bonheur des dames", old mercery ;
- "le cabinet des curieux" (curious cabinet) of Thierry Ruby, antiques ;
- the old "Farfouille" bookshop ;
- Antiques and Paintings ;
- Les galeries de peintures anciennes ;
- "Photo-Verdeau", for antique cameras or photo prints ;
Exit at the other side, rue du faubourg Montmartre.
Few steps on the left, at the crossroad with rue de Provence, stands a candy shop : "A la mere de famille" which is one of the oldest shop in Paris, since 1761.
Step back in the direction of boulevard Montmartre.
On this very sidewalk, at n°7, le Bouillon Chartier, famous 1896 large typical parisian brasserie is in all touristic guides and worth the trip, with good food, light prices and unique noisy atmosphere (see the garcons holding pyramides of plate on their arms !).
On the other side of the street, the ancien music-hall Le Palace, transformed in a night club in the 70's, was a huge gay symbol with its Gay tea Dance on Sundays and its Gay Wednesday nights. Just aside, in cite Bergere, at n° 4, sauna IDM waits for you.
Those who can wait before the sauna and are still on to visit Paris streets, can follow boulevard Montmartre on the right and walk to the crossroad rue de Richelieu - rue Drouot (M° Richelieu-Drouot).
At number 97 Rue de Richelieu is the luxuous Passage des Princes (and its toys shops everywhere).
Out of this "line", other passages worth the visit :
Passage du Grand-Cerf which link rue St Denis and rue Dussoubs. Very close to the Montorgueil district (to see for its permanent market, typical parisian ambiance and bunches of beautiful gay guys living and shopping here) the passage is dedicated in design creation and hosts, twice a year in Mai and October "Les Puces du Design" (Design Flea Market) for objects from the 60's or 70's.
To be seen :
- MX, jewellery creation from oisters pearls ;
- PM Co Style, asian furnitures and dishes ;
- AsArt, African art and craftwork ;
- Plusieurs boutiques de créateurs de luminaires ;
- Men By Men, tee-shirts to turn gays crazy;
The Passage du Grand-Cerf is two steps away from L'impact and the Depot and not so far from the Marais, the gay center of Paris...
Rue Tiquetonne and rue Marie Stuart and their gay restaurants are close too (Aux Trois Petits Cochons, Le Loup Blanc, Mi Cayito, Pigz).