Passage du Ponceau – Le Sentier district
The Passage du Ponceau is located in Le Sentier, an enclave of Bonne-Nouvelle district.
The 2,5m wide passage connects 212 Rue Saint-Denis to 111 Boulevard de Sébastopol, and is one of Paris’ narrowest and shortest covered galleries.
It was built in 1826, but was shortened in 1854 to give way for the opening of Boulevard de Sébastopol during Haussmann‘s urban works.
Its original glass roof, candelabra and decoration have therefore long gone.
All that is left are three shops and the caretaker’s lodge or Maison du Gardien, by the exit on Boulevard de Sébastopol.
However, this tiny section has retained its unique and obsolete charm, its original ceiling and shop windows’ superb carved columns.
The Passage du Ponceau remained deserted for decades and was converted in a storage facility by the district’s textile wholesalers.
It was also a convenient and popular short cut between Rue St-Denis and Boulevard de Sébastopol!
Renaissance of the gallery
It would seem that the Passage du Ponceau is being slowly rediscovered, hence the fashion shops and restaurants that opened in the past few years.
The latter are quite popular with office workers, as they offer simple, yet very good value for money menus.
This can be an alternative for those of you who want to have lunch away from the buzz of the street.
My favourite place in Passage du Ponceau is the caretaker’s lodge, la Maison du Gardien, which crumbles under flowers and plants.
The gardienne, an elderly woman, comes out as soon as you stop to admire them and welcomes you with a beautiful smile.
She and her flowers bring a touch of gaiety to the gallery and seem to invite you inside!
Dare to venture into the Passage du Ponceau, even if it seems a little dark at first.
You’ll discover a ‘secret Paris’ unknown to most tourists!
Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am to 7pm – Closed on Saturday and Sunday – Free access
Directions: 2nd district – no212 Rue Saint-Denis – no119 Boulevard de Sébastopol
Metro: Réaumur-Sébastopol on Lines 3, 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.867693 – Long 2.351753