Welcome to the first article about ‘Paris Life’ (European Travel), and about the magical Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arondissement of Paris.
Maybe you are like me, and you hate the rain and the humidity. But when you live in Paris you had better be used to weather which is not exactly like in the Bahamas. So when it’s raining too much, I close my umbrella and I go strolling in the Galerie Vivienne.
Paris used to have one hundred and fifty covered passages in 1820. It was during the era of Romantics, an elegant Parisian women used to wear a tight corset under a long dress with balloon sleeves and a ribboned hat. But at these time, when you were a Romantic lady you had a dilemma: How to shop on a rainy Saturday with your girlfriends in a city which had no sidewalks and without an umbrella?
Yes, no umbrellas, because rubber was invented in 1859 therefore no umbrellas! How could you avoid spoiling your graceful satin shoes and your long light dress in the dirty Parisian mud when you were living in the beginning of the 19th century? Well, you went in the Parisian covered passages!
Now there are only thirty covered passages in Paris, as many covered passages have since been destroyed. That’s the price to pay for the modernisation of a city. Fortunately Paris has kept the queen of the covered passages: “La galerie Vivienne”, which is located in rue Vivienne, not far from the Louvre and the Opera. If you look down in la Galerie Vivienne, you’ll notice that the floor is a multi-colored mosaic carpet.
If you look up, you’ll notice that the walls are not ordinary walls but the temple of delicate sculptures. Walter Benjamin, the German writer, said that a Parisian covered passage is a world in miniature.
Indeed you can find everything you worship if you are a woman of taste like me… If you like stylish clothes, there are chic boutiques everywhere. If you are a fan of thrillers and detectives, you’ll be delighted to learn that the office of the first private detective in the world used to be 13, Galerie Vivienne. Yes, number 13…it’s not a coincidence for a crime detective. His name was François Vidocq and his hectic life inspired Balzac and Hugo.
If you are a book lover, you ll be seduced by the charming bookshop ‘Jousseaume’. This iconic bookshop exists since 1826. Each time I go inside I can’t resist and I always buy at least one vintage book.
The best place to read the book you will buy, is le Bistrot Vivienne. While you sip your coffee in this cozy place nothing will disturb you. No cars, no noise, no music, no TV.
If you prefer tea and pastry why don’t you go in the quiet tea room ‘Le Valentin’. And if you are really hungry, you ll be happy to eat in ‘le Bougainville bistrot’.(above).
This warm restaurant has even the Parisian bistrot label which means it’s an authentic Paris café. Because Paris bistrots are the heritage of Paris.
Being in la Galerie Vivienne is feeling the experience of a time travel. It’s being in a place from another time. The atmosphere of this majestic place will take you back to another century. But I have to warn you. This magical gallery will cast a spell on you. Once you will enter in the Galerie Vivienne, you will never want to leave it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about living life as a local in Paris, and I can’t wait to share some more Paris life inspiration with you soon! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous posts about European Travel (Senior Editor – Julia Rees), and by the other Editors and follow The Code of Style on Instagram.