Yesterday I posted the Top 20 To Do List in the City of Lights according to Miriele Gilianio, author of French Women For All Seasons and Why French Women Don’t Get Fat. I have personally taken advantage of all the sites she has proposed and I think it is only fair to give you some additional information so you can make informed choices as to whether they are something you would like to do on your next visit to Paris.
Passages or galeries in Paris were conceived by town planners in the 19th century to protect pedestrians from weather, mud and horse drawn carriages, while creating space for shops that line these ornately decorated pass throughs. Only a handful survive to this day and are located predominantly in the 2nd arrondissement.
This is Galerie Vivienne, my personal favorite, located off rue des Petits Champs behind Palais Royal. I stumbled upon it as I was purposely trying to get lost just to see what I might find and voilá.
By the 1960’s many of these reminders of the past were in terrible disrepair, but with so many things in France, they were lovingly restored to their former grandeur as opposed to being torn down to make way for something new. Just look at the mosaic floors and glazed rooftop! Imagine yourself back in the days when a long gown would have been destroyed by a muddy street and how grateful you would have been for these precursors to our modern day “malls”. Not quite the same thing is it?
You will find a nice mix of shops in here–clothing stores both with new items as well as a great resale shop where I have bought some wonderful “gently” used items. The picture to the right is one of my favorite places to eat, A Priori Thé, a tiny, tiny tea salon whose menu changes daily with five items tops to chose from, wine, teas of course and a fabulous dessert menu. Certainly save room for that when you visit. It gets very busy as the secret is out how delicious everything is, so get there early or late, but not on time!
Here is Legrand Filles & Fils, a wine shop/bar/delicatessen that does tastings as well. This may be hard to believe for those of you who know how I feel about wine, but I have never been inside. Not sure why. Last time I passed by, they were expanding into more space across the hall–I’m curious to know what that is all about. It is set up with large tables for the tastings, so if you are traveling with a big group I would think this should be a stop.
I sort of worked back assed-wards because at the entrance to the passage, off rue des Petits-Champs is this candy colored shop with all things incredibly girlie, Odette & Zoe. As you can see in the photo, those crazy city of the world inspired pillows were featured in In Style and oddly that meant something here–for all the tourists at least! I have not stopped in without walking out with something. See, that must be why I haven’t been in the wine shop–I would exhibit little to no self control and walk out with way too much wine: in me and otherwise
So, I do believe Madame Guiliano and I are one for one regarding list worthiness. Stay tuned for future installments!
Additional Information: Galerie Vivienne
Photo credits: Personal collection, A. Frich