Les passages couverts de Paris
Glittering 19th century shopping arcades
Noteworthy for: These were the first shopping malls and considered the height of modernity with their shelter from the weather and gas lighting.
Popular plate: Stop by tearoom L'Arbre à Cannelle in the passage des Panoramas for a delicious inexpensive bite to eat in belle époque surroundings - a step above the regular tourist trap.
Scattered around the Right Bank are delightful 19th century shopping arcades, harking back to an earlier shopping era. With a magical light filtering through the glass roof, marble panelled corridors and wrought-iron columns, these are worth a stroll for the old-fashioned ambience, as much as the shops themselves.
Start with the passage des Panoramas off boulevard Montmartre, the first to be built in 1800. From here you can go on to explore connecting passages Verdeau, Jouffroy, Feydeau, Montmartre, St-Marc and Variétés. You’ll find a mix of antiques, art galleries, bookstores, boutique stationary and fashion: anything from Victorian dolls to EUR 1,500 walking sticks. Galerie Vivienne (1, rue de la Banque, 2e) is exquisitely restored, and now home to high-end fashion (Jean Paul Gaultier amongst others) and Legrand Filles et Fils, the oldest wine store in Paris.