If you are looking for the best and prettiest Paris covered passages, you have come to the right place! Since you clicked this article, you may have an understanding of the Parisian covered passages are, but if you are new to this secret world, let us explain them for you! The covered passages of Paris (Passages couverts Paris) came to be during the mid-1800’s and were a popular form of shopping arcade [think of them as an old-time Parisian shopping mall!] By 1850, there were over 150 Paris passages in the city! Sadly, over the years, many of these Paris shopping arcades disappeared, but that makes them even more magical to explore.
Thankfully, some of the best and most charming covered passages in Paris still remain and are just waiting to be explored. Each one of these Paris passages has its own unique charm and there is something for everyone. Some covered walkways are lined with antique stores and old bookshops. Some are home to the most delicious food you have ever tasted. One is in the Paris fashion district. And there is even one lovingly called “Little India”
Visiting these Passages couverts, as they are called in French, is an experience that will transport you back to the olden-days in Paris. For the sake of this article, we will show the best “Galeries” in the city and will include a metro stop and Google Maps location so you can find them more easily! Even if you only have a short time in Paris, we recommend choosing your favorite one or two to visit because the covered passages of Paris really can’t be missed!
10 Best Covered Passages In Paris
Galerie Vivienne Is The Most Exquisite Of All The Paris Covered Passages
No list of the best covered passages in Paris would be complete without listing Galerie Vivienne at the top! Galerie Vivienne is easily the most exquisite and ornate Paris covered passage. Currently, the majority of Galerie Vivienne is actually under construction, but there is still a piece of the shopping passage that showcases its beauty. Once Galerie Vivienne is finished, we will update this post to reflect that, but at this time there is a long way to go. That being said, Galerie Vivienne is still worth the visit to see the part that is complete.
The best part about Galerie Vivienne is the ornate mosaic floor. The design in the floor is stunning and runs the entirety of the passage. Galerie Vivienne is located near the popular Palais Royal and can get quite busy on the weekends. The stores also close early most days so if you want the best experience, we recommend going before 5pm, if possible. Galerie Vivienne is lined with luxury shops and handcrafted wares but the floor is the true star of the most exquisite covered passage in Paris.
Closest Metro Stops: The closest metro stops to Galerie Vivienne are Bourse or Pyramids. If you got off at the “Opera” metro stop, Galerie Vivienne is just a short walk away and the area is great to explore along the way!
Passage Choiseul Is An Official Historical Monument
Passage Choiseul is located right in the heart of Paris, near the famous Paris Opera. This covered Paris passage is historically significant and a registered historical monument because a famous French novelist Louis-Ferdinand Celine spent his childhood hear. If you visited Galerie Vivienne above, Passage Choiseul is a great shopping passage to couple with that visit as it is just a few blocks away.
Passage Choiseul is lined with trendy restaurants, shopping boutiques, and art galleries. It is certainly one of the more upscale covered passages in Paris so if you are looking for a nice place to shop or dine, Passage Choiseul is perfect for you. We loved the pastry shop on the outside of this Paris passage so if sweets are your thing, make sure to drop by. This covered passage is a bit more wide open than others suggested on this list so you really get the “light and airy” feeling, especially as the light spills through the ceiling!
Closest Metro Stops: Quatre-Septembre and Opéra are the nearest metro stops to Passage Choiseul. This Paris covered passage is just steps away from the metro stations so if you are looking to pop in and out, then stopping at this covered passage is perfect because of its proximity to tourist areas in Paris.
Passage du Caire Is The Longest And Narrowest Paris Passage
Passage du Caire is the longest covered passage in Paris, ringing in at over 1100 feet [or 360 meters] long! It is also the narrowest passage which adds to the charm. Passage du Caire is a fashion-lovers mecca and really provides a unique insight into the fashion design world. This Paris passage is located in the fashion design district of Paris and is lined with fashion wholesalers as well as clothing designers.
There are stores selling fabrics, mannequins, threads, and ready-to-wear designs. Passage du Caire is definitely off the main tourist path and certainly more industry-focused than commercial for tourists to buy. This is a great covered passage in Paris to visit because it provides an interesting look into an aspect of fashion that regular people don’t get to see. We also love the ceilings of Passage du Caire, especially where this long passageway splits off and the ceiling is large and beautiful.
Closest Metro Stops: Passage du Caire is split between three possible metro stops so it is up to you to choose the one that is closest to you! Réaumur – Sébastopol, Strasbourg – Saint-Denis, and Sentier are all the closest metro stations to this covered passage in Paris.
Passage du Ponceau Is Off-The-Beaten-Path And Affordable
Passage du Ponceau never makes any lists of the best covered passages in Paris, but you should still pay it a visit if you have the time. Passage du Ponceau is off-the-beaten-path and you won’t find many tourists here. This passage will give you a true look into local Parisian life. The passage is lined with affordable restaurants and shops and provides a more local feel instead of a commercialized feel.
One of the interesting things about Passage du Ponceau is the ceiling. Part is the passage is covered before it opens up to show a skylight, and then finally you come upon the glass ceiling that Parisian passages are so well-known for. If you are looking for an affordable and authentic bite to eat, make sure to stop at Passage du Ponceau.
Closest Metro Stop: Strasbourg – Saint-Denis is the closest metro stop to Passage du Ponceau and it is only a few blocks away so the walk is short and quick.
Passage des Panoramas Is One Of The Oldest Covered Passages In Paris
Out of all the remaining “passages couverts,” Passage des Panoramas is easily one of the oldest! Passage des Panoramas was constructed in 1799 which makes it so unique and historically interesting to visit. When you are walking through the shopping arcade, you can see dated tilework along the floor. Some of the tile work has been lost or damaged and has been filled in with cement, but the tiles that still remain are beautiful and visually pleasing. If you love vintage atmosphere and architecture, Passage des Panoramas is the place to visit for you!
Passage des Panoramas is also home to Théâtre des Variétés which has been around since 1807! This means that this little theatre has been playing under the glass ceiling of this beautiful Paris passage for over two centuries! Finally, if you are looking for some delicious food, Passage des Panoramas houses some wonderful dining options. Just the smell of the yummy food wafting through the arcade as you walk through will be enough to tempt you to grab a seat and sit down. If you are gluten-free, there is also a wonderful gluten-free dining option you will just love!
Closest Metro Stops: The closest metro stops to Passage des Panoramas are either Richelieu – Drouot or Grands Boulevards. Both metro stops drop you in the heart of this neighborhood and the oldest passage in Paris is just a few steps away! Make sure to save your tummy until you arrive and avoid picking up a snack as you walk to the passage!
Passage Brady Is Also Known As “Little India”
India is one of our most favorite countries in the whole wide world, so we just loved Passage Brady! Passage Brady is easily the most diverse covered shopping passage in Paris and is home to many Indian, Pakistani, Maurition, and Reunion shops. Just walking into Passage Brady immediately transported us back to India! If you are wondering what India smells and tastes like, head to Passage Brady because it really was authentic to our experience in India!
When we visited Passage Brady, it was during Diwali, the Indian celebration of lights and the equivalent of Christmas. Everything was decked out and the shop owners were so excited to talk about their holiday. It was so fun to talk to Indians and hear how much they love their country and listen to what they had to share. If you are looking for the most diverse passage in Paris, Passage Brady is the perfect place to try, do, and see new things!
Closest Metro Stops: The closest metro stops to Passage Brady are Château d’Eau or Strasbourg – Saint-Denis, depending on where you are coming from. The neighborhood in which Passage Brady is located is also very diverse with different cultures having shops all around.
Passage Jouffroy Is One Of The Most Popular Shopping Arcades In Paris
Believe it or not, Passage Jouffroy is one of the most visited covered passages in Paris! It is located in a buzzing and popular area of the city so it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular shopping arcades. Passage Jouffroy is easily accessible from a busy shopping and dining street but offers a nice respite from the crowds. As soon as you step off the main road and into Passage Jouffroy, you will be transported into a quieter and more tranquil atmosphere.
Make sure to visit Passage Jouffroy during daylight hours because the glass ceiling is one of the most beautiful you will see in Paris. You can really tell the design work that went into creating this beautiful structure. The marble floor and tilework are another eye-catching detail that makes Passage Jouffroy worth the stop. If you are in the area, pop into this beautifully done covered passage for a respite from the bustling street just outside.
Closest Metro Stops: Passage Jouffroy is situated smack in-between the Grands Boulevards and Richelieu – Drouot metro stations. This covered walkway is easily accessible from either stop.
Passage du Prado Is Virtually Abandoned
Passage du Prado is one of the virtually abandoned shopping arcades in Paris. Many of the shops that once lined much of this arcade are now gone and it is simply used as a place for people to quickly walk through or take shelter from the elements. The shops that are left are a Thai fabric store, Indian barber, and a Pakistani restaurant to name a few. Like Passage Brady, it is more culturally diverse than others, at least what is left of it. There wasn’t a single tourist around and most locals just popped under the ceiling to make a quick phone call or take a smoke.
The ceiling is reminiscent of Asian culture, with colorful supports holding up the opaque glass ceiling. The interesting thing about Passage du Prado is that it isn’t trying to be something it is not. It is all but abandoned and beckons back to an almost-forgotten time in Parisian history. Passage du Prado is a stark contrast to the other more popular and buzzing passages in Paris and if you are looking to get a grungy look into the past, we recommend paying it a visit.
Closest Metro Stops: Strasbourg – Saint-Denis is the closest metro stop to Passage du Prado. When you exit the metro, you will come out right near one of the two entrances to this Paris covered passage.
Passage Verdeau Is An Antique Lovers Paradise
If you love antiques, you are in for a real treat when visiting Passage Verdeau! The entirety of Passage Verdeau is lined with antique dealers the whole way down. Even if you aren’t a huge antique lover, you are going to be intrigued when visiting this covered passage in Paris. We loved the antique bookstores and the record shops. The books are all very old and there are even some first editions if you get lucky!
The iron and glass ceiling of Passage Verdeau is also beautiful and worth mentioning, so if you want to see it in all its glory, make sure to visit during the daytime. Passage Verdeau is also a great place to buy the bookworm in your family a special present from Paris. What a unique souvenir that is one of a kind to remind you of exploring the Paris covered passages.
Closest Metro Stops: The three closest metro stops to Passage Verdeau are Le Peletier, Grands Boulevards, or Richelieu – Drouot. This passage couvert isn’t nearby one single metro station and is instead a few blocks away from either of the three mentioned here.
Galeries Lafayette Is The Largest Shopping Galerie In Paris
Technically, Galeries Lafayette is indeed a covered passage in Paris, but traditionalists may not agree. It isn’t small or locally owned. Instead, Galeries Lafayette is a mammoth shopping mall to the fanciest degree! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit! It is also the largest covered shopping Galerie in Paris! If you head to the center of Galeries Lafayette, you will be greeted by a large and opulent glass ceiling.
Like other Paris covered passages, the glass ceiling at Galeries Lafayette is best viewed during the daytime, but it is still impressive at night if that is the only time you can visit. The Galeries Lafayette is a perfectly round circle of iron and glass and is an architectural wonder. We couldn’t have a complete list of the best covered passages in Paris without including the largest and most impressive of them all. That being said, the rise of Galeries Lafayette sadly led to the demise of over 60 other local Parisian covered passages. So even though Galeries Lafayette is a must-see during your exploration of the shopping arcades, it is worth noting its role in the destruction of the covered passage culture.
Closest Metro Stop: The nearest metro stop to Galeries Lafayette is Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette which drops you off right at the entrance of the store. Keep in mind that there are multiple entrances to Galeries Lafayette and that it is a massive store so make sure to ask a security guard which one is home to the glass ceiling so you can quickly get to see the best part with ease!
Paris Covered Passages Map
Although we provided a map of each individual location of the best covered passages in Paris, sometimes it is helpful to have all of the information in one place. As a result, we created a handy-dandy Paris covered passages map just for you! This map will show you where the shopping arcades are located and will help you plan your visit as some of the passages are nearby in groups. We recommend downloading this Google Map “offline” to the Google Maps app so that you have it on hand even if you don’t have phone service during your time in Paris.
Visiting the Passages couverts In Paris is a true off-the-beaten-path activity. If you want to go shopping in Paris, there is no better place to visit than one of these vintage shopping arcades. Paris is a truly magical place and if you have been to the city a few times, this will be the perfect activity to make you continue to fall in love with this wonderful city. If this is your first visit, the covered passages in Paris are the perfect secret activity to get you off the main tourist trail and to make your friends back home jealous of your travels!
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