You don’t have much time to visit Paris, you don’t want to spend 12 euros just to hang around for 20 mn or 1 hour in some huge museum , yet you wish to experience a bit of Paris magic ?
Here’s a series of articles for you.
There are many places in Paris which are totally unexpensive, yet much more unforgettable than some crowded public monument. Let’s face it, The Louvre Museum is nice, but it’s so big you may not want to spend 12 euros just to see the tiny frame of Mona Lisa and move on.
A few years ago , I noticed in the Visit London website a list of 10 places totally free of charge, hence my idea of highlighting some FOC places in Paris I have visited myself.
This morning, being in advance to some appointment, I happened to kill half an hour in the « Grands Boulevards » area ( located on the metro line nr.9 around the stations called Richelieu Drouot, Grands Boulevards, Bonne Nouvelle. I alighted at Grands Boulevards, then walked towards Richelieu Drouot ( along the boulevard).
I suddenly saw a strange gate leading to some « covered passage » called Passage Jouffroy. That Passage dates back to 1846, as being part of a huge castle-hotel ( nowadays the remainder has become the Best Western Ronceray Hotel) and you’ll enjoy a delicious moment suspended in the 19th century. No wonder the old wax museum Musée Grévin ( our Mrs Tussauds Museum) is just next door.
Under the glass top roof, you’ll window shop a series of old fashioned shops and art galleries, specialising in jewels, stamps, coins, cards, souvenirs. Of course, lots of cafés and pastry shops as we are in a district full of theaters ( some of them very impressive that you will notice here and there). Unlike Vienna’s passages ( quite luxury oriented) , you’ll also be pleased to find cheaper shops selling souvenirs, cards or embroidery stuffs.Passage Jouffroy is one of the numerous passages still available all around Paris. The most famous one is Passage des Panoramas. The passages are totally FOC and protected as historical monuments. Many of them lead to another, so you can easily spend a delicious moment discovering their network of vintage architectures, feeling like « Alice in Wonderland ». You may also find the same kind of passages in each European city, eg Brussels, Annecy, Reims, Bordeaux or Vienna but Paris passages seem longer.
Just for you, here’s a comprehensive article about these famous passages.