Passage du Grand Cerf, one of the few remaining covered galleries in Paris
The Passage du Grand Cerf connects Rue Saint-Denis to Rue Dussoubs in the industrious 2nd district.
You’ll find its Rue Saint-Denis entrance opposite the charming Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé.
The Passage du Grand Cerf was developed in the mid 1820’s on the site of the Hôtellerie du Grand Cerf and ancient relay station Terminus des Messageries Royales.
The official opening date remains unknown, but it was already open to the public in 1827.
The light metal structure of its 12m high glass roof allowed for the construction of shop windows on both the ground floor and the first floor; this was quite unusual in the 1820s.
Lodgings were therefore located on the 3rd floor and not on the 2nd, as in the other covered passages; this layout was intended to accommodate production workshops and craft shops and not luxury boutiques.
However, businesses didn’t perform that well at first; they had to compete with the many shopping galleries built in central Paris in the years that followed.
The Passage du Grand Cerf’s owner decided therefore to cut his losses and bequeathed it to the Assistance Publique in 1862.
It was once more sold, as income never ceased to decline; abandoned and shunned for decades, it was even temporarily closed because its glass roof threatened to collapse due to lack of maintenance.
The Passage du Grand Cerf has been privately owned since 1985 and has undergone complete restoration and rehabilitation in 1990.
The 12m glass roof turns it into the tallest passage in Paris.
It is today home to creators and designers boutiques, but also shops selling handmade jewelry, furniture, craft, leather bags and clothes to name a few.
The Passage du Grand Cerf has a marvelous old-fashioned charm; it’s one of these places you wish you had discovered earlier!
Stroll along, look around and try to spot the deer head (Tête de Cerf), the elephant head, the crab and dragonfly that decorate some of the shop windows.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday – 8.30am to 8pm – Closed on Sunday – Free access
Directions: 2nd district – 145 Rue St-Denis – 8 rue Dussoubs
Metro: Etienne Marcel on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.864744 – Long 2.349291