Passage Moliere, one of Paris’ oldest passages
Passage Moliere is one of 25 remaining passages out of the 150 that were built in Paris in the 19th century!
It links no82 rue Quincampoix to nos157-159-161 rue Saint Martin.
Passage Moliere is not a covered gallery, but a picturesque cobbled open-air lane.
Each entrance-exit porch cuts through the buildings that border rues Quicampoix and Saint-Martin.
One of the peculiarities of the Passage Moliere is that its houses are numbered in sequence.
According to standard numbering, even and uneven numbers are indeed placed on opposite pavements; but not here!
The Passage Moliere is 46 long and 2,75m wide.
The ground is slightly curved in its centre in order to form a small gully to drain rainwater.
You’ll find very few of these ancient cobbled lanes left in Paris.
Most are now covered with tarmac and equipped with lateral gutters!
Passage Moliere – Maison de la Poésie
Passage Moliere is one of the oldest passages in Paris!
Boursault, the former director of the Théâtre de Marseille, built the Théatre Molière in 1791, shortly after the start of the French Revolution.
The public entrance was located on Rue Saint-Martin.
Boursault therefore opened the passage in order to access the rear of the theatre and the stage door.
The theatre was inaugurated on June 4, 1791 under the patronage of the play-writer Molière.
Le Misanthrope was indeed the first play produced there!
However, the passage was renamed Passage des Sans-Culottes en 1793.
The radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes who initiated the Revolution were then known as Sans-Culottes.
The passage was renamed Passage des Nourrices, as the theatre was indeed built on the site of a former Bureau de Nourrices (nurses ‘agency’).
It retained this name until the late 18th century when it recovered its initial name of Passage Moliere.
The theatre initially went through phases of success.
However, it slowly declined and was eventually sold as private property.
It hosted various businesses until the City of Paris purchased the premises in the 1970s.
However, all that was left of the theatre by then were the magnificent staircase leading to the ballroom, some stone columns and rooms.
These were all restored when the building was listed Historical Monument in 1974.
The theatre was revived as Maison de la Poésie.
Paris’ best kept secret!
The Passage Moliere is one of Paris’ best-kept secrets.
It has indeed retained the obsolete charm of a village lane.
It’s not exceptionally attractive in term of architecture, but is lined with unusual shops.
You’ll indeed find a couple of tiny restaurants and cafes with lovely terraces.
These are an ideal place for a café crème on a sunny day out away from the crowds.
There are also lovely ancient books shops and some unusual art and craft shops such as one proposing moulds of feet and hands…
There is much to discover!
Directions: 3rd District
Metro: Rambuteau on Line 11
Coordinates: Lat 48.862403 – Long 2.351187
Our photos were also published on the “Berliner Zeitung” and the Frankfurter Rundschau