Paris - Ile De France Section

Passage Choiseul – Shopping Gallery Paris

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Passage Choiseul - The longest covered gallery in Paris

The Passage Choiseul is one Paris remaining few covered shopping galleries created between the late 18th and mid 19th century.

It has two main entrances at no40 Rue des Petits Champs and no23 rue Saint-Augustin.

The third and much smaller is the Passage Ste-Anne on Rue Ste-Anne.

The 190m long by 3,7m wide gallery is the longest of Paris.

It is an extension of the Rue de Choiseul, hence its name.

The architect Tavernier built in 1825-27 on an estate belonging to the Banque Mallet.

It included four mansions encompassed within Rue St Augustin, Rue Ste-Anne, Rue Gaillon and Rue des Petits Champs.

One of these, the Hôtel de Gesvres, built in 1655 by the architect Lepautre, had become a disreputable gambling house in the late 18th century.

Tavernier pulled down the mansions, but kept the porch of the Hôtel de Gesvres, which has become the current entrance to Passage Ste-Anne.

Three-storey terraced houses protected by a double-slope glass roof line the passage.

Shops are at ground floor level and lodgings on the upper floors; their attic is the only floor located above the glass roof.

The Passage Choiseul was never an elegant gallery such as Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert.

No luxury shops there, but convenience shops and culture and art related businesses.

Offenbach's Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens

The Passage Choiseul boasted a theatre, Théâtre Comte, which specialised in puppet-shows.

In 1855, Offenbach bought this establishment to open his Théâtre des Bouffres Parisiens.

Until 1862, the Parisian smart set flocked to the Passage Choiseul in order to attend his representations; the theatre is still there.

The main entrance is located at no4 rue Monsigny.

The rear entrance is at no65 Passage Choiseul, where you can admire it old fashion window.

The actors’ lodges were next door, at no67.

Passage Choiseul boasted another prestigious establishment.

The bookshop of Alphonse Lemerre, the first editor of the poets Verlaine and Baudelaire stood at no47, then no27 and eventually no23.

Passage Choiseul, the playground of Ferdinand Céline

This cultural environment most likely inspired the young Louis-Ferdinand Céline who spent his youth and teenage at no64 then no67 Passage Choiseul.

The gallery was then lit with about 30 gas lamps.

These apparently produced an unpleasant odour that stagnated because of the poor ventilation of the gallery.

Céline therefore kept an execrable memory of his life in the Passage Choiseul.

The lack of maintenance that settled over the years led to a steady decline of the passage.

However, the presence of a theater, book and stationery shops allowed it to retain a reduced but constant activity, when most other covered passages fell into oblivion.

Parisians rediscovered the Passage Choiseul in the 1970s when the fashion designer Kenzo opened a boutique there.

Kenzo relaunched the Passage Choiseul in the 1970s

However, several artists and designers followed Kenzo when he later moved to the nearby Place des Victoires, but by then the gallery's notoriety was well established!

The Passage Choiseul was classified Historical Monument in 1974.

The glass roof was restored in 1980, the gallery and its entrance canopy in 2012/13.

The passage Choiseul has since regained full activity.

The Librarie Lemerre closed down in 1965; the gallery today gathers fashion boutiques, jewelries, art and crafts shops, restaurants, shoe shops, stationary and book shops and even a renowned merchant of colours.

Opening hours: 8am to 8pm - Free entry

Directions: 2nd district
Metro:Pyramides on Line 7 or Quatre-Septembre and Bourse on Line 10
Coordinates for entrances:
Rue des Petits Champs Lat 48.867248 - Long 2.335158
Rue St-Augustin  Lat 48.868850 - Long 2.335965

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