Monkeys love secrets and scattered about Paris in the 1st and 2nd Arrondissements are nearly two dozen hidden passageways that seem to escape the crush of tourists in the shops along Rue de Rivoli. These passages were the shopping malls of the 18th and 19th century and at one time there were more than 150 of them in Paris. The ones that remain today have been restored to their original glory and offer a glimpse into the past and the promise of hidden secrets and spirits of those Parisians who walked these wonderful places hundreds of years ago. Mrs. Kongo and the monkey were guided through these secret places where (relatively) few tourists venture by a lovely young lady and student of history named Erell Bernard. Read on for a glimpse into the past.
Galerie Vivenne is a great place to have a glass of wine and that is exactly what the monkey had inside!
A great spot for a glass of wine and watching people. Galerie Vivienne was built in 1823 and is one of the most upscale of all the passages. The original mosaic tile floors are spectacular. Kongo had a great glass of wine at Legrand files et fils, which Kongo’s guide assured him was one of the best wine shops in Paris.
Kongo’s new favorite wine shop in Paris.
Passages des Panoramas was built in 1800 and was named for upper rooms that offered panoramic views of Paris. The passageway is filled with shops, small restaurants, and wine bars.
The passages are filled with interesting shops like this one selling both new and antique books in dozens of languages. A great place for a reader!
This view of an outdoor passage from an indoor passage intrigued the monkey. He loved the way the trees are trimmed.
Even Americans made it into the passages….
Galerie Colbert was built in 1826. It is now used by the University of Paris but you can still gain access past a security guard and the effort is worth it just to see the magnificent atrium.
Looking up was half the fun in the passages.
Erell teaches Kongo how to properly sample Paris chocolate in a passageway sweet shop.
Kongo’s tour lasted three hours and it was one of the highlights of his Paris visit. Erell recommended a great place for dinner (Le Chalet) a few blocks off the Champs-Élysées on a side street off of Rue de Franklin Roosevelt that was wonderful. Kongo recommends that when you have enough of Paris Tourism that you look up Erell and arrange a tour. Tell her the monkey sent you. If you email Kongo he’ll let you know how to contact her.
Travel safe. Have fun. Keep secrets.