Passage du Bourg l’Abbé, the charm of a bygone era
The Passage du Bourg l’Abbé is located in an industrious and popular district of central Paris.
It’s also one of the few remaining covered passages built in the first part of the 19th century.
The 43m long by 3m wide covered gallery was classified Historical Monument on January 21, 1991.
It links the no3 Rue Palestro to the no120 Rue Saint-Denis.
The architect Auguste Lusson built the it in 1828, in order to connect the Passage du Grand Cerf to the Passage de l’Ancre.
The gallery was lined with shops of all kinds.
It formed a long promenade that became very popular with the Parisians.
They indeed could indulge in the pleasure of shopping and window-shopping while being sheltered from the weather!
The gallery’s eastern section was pulled down in 1854 during the opening of the Boulevard Sébastopol and Rue Palestro during Haussmann’s renovation of Paris.
Henri Blondel, the architect of the Bourse de Commerce de Paris (Commodities stock exchange), designed its entrance on Rue Palestro in 1863.
Aimé Millet sculpted the two allegorical Caryatids that adorn it.
One stands in front of an anchor, the attribute of the Merchant Navy that symbolizes Commerce, the other holds tools of Industry.
A short cut between Rue Palestro and Rue St-Denis
The Passage du Bourg l’Abbé is very popular with people who work in the area.
However, it has retained very few shops and has sadly become no more than a short cut between Rue Palestro and Rue St-Denis.
It was fortunately restored after the fire that nearly destroyed it a few years ago.
Let’s hope it will also recover the lively atmosphere it enjoyed in its heyday!
The old shop windows and decoration exude a lovely old-fashioned charm that transport you back in the 19th century.
As most of the covered galleries built at the time, it contains a wealth of architectural and decorative features of quality such as woodwork, bronzes, antique lamps or murals among others.
The Passage du Bourg l’Abbé is roofed with a superb rounded glass canopy, when most other covered passages of Paris are sheltered under a simple two-side glass roof.
As you walk out, don’t forget to look up in order to admire the barometer and clock located above each vaulted exit.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 7.30am to 7.30pm
Closed on Sunday and public holidays – Free access
Directions: 2nd district – 3 Rue Palestro – 120 Rue St-Denis
Metro: Etienne Marcel on Line 4
Coordinates 3 Rue Palestro: Lat 48.864515 – Long 2.350972