"Before the shopping malls ... the Passages" Galleries & Passages Tip by mariev
Galleries & Passages, Paris: 44 reviews and 146 photos
The idea of providing protected shopping 'centers' is as old as trading : no one wants the goods to be ruined or the potential custommer deterred by weather conditions. The form may differ depending on the era and the country but such places always and everywhere exist(ed), be they souks, covered markets or shopping malls.
While the wooden galeries du Palais Royal, built in 1786 and destroyed since, are considered as the parisian galeries prototype, the real expansion of the concept occured in the first half of the19th century.
More than 30 passages or galeries have been built since and most of them still exist, each of them having its own personality: from the luxuous shops in Galerie Vivienne and Colbert to the simple passage way like Passage Dauphine, from the fashion designers haunt in Passage du Grand Cerf to the little Indian/Pakistan restaurants' collection in the shaddy Passage Brady; including the more 'classical' Passage Verdeau, Passage Jouffroy and Passage des Panoramas.
After a quasi-disapearance during the 2nd empire (overshadowed by the new 'Grands Magasins'), they found a second youth at the end of the 20th century and continue to change : the Passage du Havre has been renovated and turned into a modern mini-mall, new passages have even been created like the marche Saint Honore (hosting furniture designers)...
But they all have some things in common, the light and the sounds: due to their glass roofs, the natural light, even filtered through pebble-glass differs from any sort of man-made light, and they retain this incredible quality of peace due to muted sounds.
Some more photos here
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