Galerie Vero Dodat near Palais-Royal
Galerie Vero Dodat is one of the 150 passages and covered galleries that were created in Paris from the late 18th to the mid-19th century.
It was listed Historical Monument in 1965 and fully restored in 1997.
Located on the eastern side of the Palais-Royal, it links no2 rue du Bouloi to no19 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Two butchers turned investors are at the origin of its construction!
Benoît Véro and his friend Dodat indeed purchased the Hôtel Quatremert in 1823.
They pulled down the mansion and funded the construction of the gallery, which was inaugurated in 1826.
The Galerie Vero Dodat was an overnight success.
It was indeed a shortcut between the palace and Les Halles district, and it was also one of the first galleries to be equipped with gas lighting!
The proximity of the Messageries Lafitte et Gaillard, a stagecoach company serving the whole of France, contributed highly to its popularity.
Travelers waiting for their coach indeed killed the time by paying a visit to the gallery’s many shops.
Decline of the gallery
However, the emergence of the railway and automobile resulted in the disappearance of the Messageries Lafitte et Gaillard and consequently led to the decline of the Galerie Vero Dodat.
The long-established businesses, that closed down due to the economic downturn or because the owners had retired, never re-opened.
Some shops remained empty for months, some even for years and decades.
Fortunately Parisians have always been very fond of their architectural heritage.
Their commitment was reinforced in the 1960s, when the Minister of Culture André Malraux listed or protected countless buildings and monuments.
The Galerie Vero Dodat was entirely restored in 1997.
It is an ideal setting for the high-end furnishing and decoration boutiques, art galleries and antique books shops that have since been open and revived it.
The 80m by 4m wide gallery is a perfect illustration of Neoclassical architecture.
The black and white checkered marble floor and the low ceiling reinforce the illusion of depth.
The greater part of the gallery has a glass roof.
Some sections of ceilings are painted with bucolic landscapes inhabited by Pagan gods and goddesses.
The shops’ arched windows are all identical.
They are indeed made with dark wood and decorated with copper, iron, mirrors, paintings and columns.
Two statues, placed in alcoves, adorn the gallery’s imposing entrance on Rue du Bouloi.
One represents Hermes – the Greek God of Commerce – with his winged helmet and caduceus in hand.
The other represents the resting Satyr by Praxiteles.
The Galerie Vero Dodat is a little gem of architecture, an insight in the Paris of the 19th century.
You could easily spend a couple of hours discovering details of the architecture while window-shopping.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 7am to 10pm – Closed on Sunday and public holidays – Free access