Paris - Ile De France
Galerie Vivienne – Shopping Gallery Paris
Galerie Vivienne, a prime location
The Galerie Vivienne is one of Paris' most prestigious shopping gallery.
The 176m long gallery has 3 entrances:
4 Rue des Petits Champs, 5-7 Rue de la Banque and 6 Rue Vivienne.
It is also one of the 150 shopping passages and galleries built in Paris from the late 18th century to the mid 19th century..
It was inaugurated in 1826.
Maître Marchoux, the President of the Chambers of Notaries and local resident, bought a plot of land in order to develop the gallery.
This plot included the Hôtel Vanel de Serrant and the Passage des Petits Pères.
The plot couldn’t be better located!
It was indeed at the rear of the Bibilothèque Richelieu (Library).
A shopping gallery for the well off Parisians
Unlike the Galerie Colbert that attracted all crowds, the Galerie Vivienne became an exclusive gallery.
It indeed embodied embody the 'bourgeois spirit' of the time.
Marchoux didn't want to attract luxury trades but elegant and 'useful' businesses.
Businesses that would serve the affluent middle classes, away from the noise and rustling of the street!
The architect Francois-Jacques Delannoy built the most elegant and sophisticated shopping gallery of Paris.
The Galerie Vivienne indeed boasts an architecture worthy of the greatest palaces!
Its lavish Pompeian style decoration revolves around three themes:
Success, Wealth and Commerce.
A lavish decoration
Thus appeared plethora of columns, arches, crystal candelabras, cornices carved with sheaves of wheat and palm, laurel wreaths, cornucopias and caducei!
The shops' superb canopies and arched windows where embellished with hand-carved and polished wood and wrought iron.
Delannoy entrusted the creation of the mosaic-tiled floors to Facchina Giandomenico, one of the leading ceramists of the 19th century.
You'll admire the geometric patterns of Facchina’s mosaic tiles all along the gallery.
You'll also find his signature embedded in some of his creations.
The Galerie Vivienne is sheltered by a magnificent glass roof.
It also boasts a superb rotunda topped with a glass dome, which projects an exquisite light.
The Galerie Vivienne is undoubtedly the finest and most sophisticated shopping gallery in Paris.
However, it's still quiet and cozy!
It was home to a wide array of 'useful' shops including boot-makers, haberdashers, tailors, wine merchants and confectioners...
The success was immediate!
The Galerie Vivienne was and has always remained more popular than the next-door Galerie Colbert.
Decline and renaissance of the Galerie Vivienne
Trade, however, started to decline during the Second Empire when Haussmann renovated Paris.
As most other Parisian galleries, the Galerie Vivienne fell gently into oblivion then in disrepair and almost in ruin!
It was eventually restored to its former beauty and revived in the 1960s.
It was classified Historical Monument in 1974.
This renaissance was endorsed by the installation of fashion designers Jean-Paul Gaultier and Yuki Torii in 1986.
Other designers soon followed in their steps.
So did prestigious brands specialized in ready to wear and home decoration, art galleries and antique wooden toys, to name a few.
The Galerie Vivienne has lost its Parisian bourgeois atmosphere and has become a little enclave dedicated to luxury.
Only two of the original shops are still present.
If you love books old and new, you’ll enjoy spend some time in the Librairie Jousseaume (the former Librairie Petit-Siroux), which was founded in 1826.
The delicatessen - épicerie fine Legrand Filles & Fils existed before the construction of the gallery!
You’ll fall for its collection of fine chocolates and candies in traditional glass jars!
If you are an amateur of fine wines you’ll enjoy tasting them by the glass in the wine cellar they opened in 1880.
As you stroll along you’ll also discover the no13 and its monumental staircase leading to the house of the famous Vidocq.
A former prisoner, Vidocq became chief of police!
You can enjoy window-shopping or simple take a short break in the lovely tearoom located in the centre of the gallery or at the Bistro Vivienne by the entrance on Rue des Petits Champs.
The Galerie Vivienne is a small and exclusive village hidden in the heart of Paris, a haven of peace away from the noise of the street.
Take the time to visit, its elegant and old-fashioned atmosphere will charm you.
Opening hours: 8.30am to 8.30pm
Directions: 2nd district
Metro: Bourse on Line 3
No4 Rue des Petits Champs Lat 48.866167 - Long 2.339463
No6 Rue Vivienne Lat 48.867262 - Long 2.339270
Nos5-7 Rue de la Banque Lat 48.866601 - Long 2.340198
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