One of the best things about living in Paris is the ability to go for a walk, take a turn and end up some place completely new. There is always a hidden courtyard to happen upon or a beautiful garden just waiting to be explored, and it’s always a treat to end up some place like La Galerie Vivienne, which I did not too long ago on a stroll one afternoon.
The unassuming entry into this passageway in the 2nd arrondissement is one of many of its kind found throughout the city. In fact, at one point in the mid-1800′s, there were more than 140 of these covered arcades connecting pedestrians to restaurants, shops and apartments in Paris.
Unfortunately, time marched on and over these themed walkways, but luckily those that remain have largely made their way to the list of Historic Monuments.
With it’s glass domed ceiling, brass lamps and mosaic tile floor, Galerie Vivienne is a stunning example of what you can find in Paris when you’re least expecting it. It’s now home to a book shop, a handful of cafes and many upscale boutiques. But whether or not you’re in the mood for some shopping, Vivienne is worth a stroll the next time you’re in the area and want to channel your inner flâneur.
I’m sure this passageway (and it’s counterparts) have all found their way to every guidebook out there, but isn’t it better when you’re just wandering along, look up and there it is?
Galerie Vivienne. 4 rue des Petits-Champs. Or you know, somewhere in the 2nd.