Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive the latest news for our upcoming tours. Subscribing here.
FRANCE: Paris - Passages of Time

FRANCE: Paris - Covered Passages of Time
Enquiries welcome

Destinations: FRANCE

Tour Grading EASY: Suitable for travellers with an average level of fitness and mobility

Tour Commences In: Paris - Departs Daily

Number of Days: 2 hours

Accommodation: Luxury / Deluxe

Leaders: Professional expert local guide

Tour Concludes In: Paris

Tour Style: Luxury Escorted Small Group Tour

Meals: NIL

Transportation: Walking

Tour Summary

Covered passages, or arcades, are considered to be largely a Parisian invention from the late 18th century, but were soon also constructed in other European cities, notably London. At that time, an emerging capitalist market, where selling and buying became more and more important, and a taste for flanerie, or strolling, as a form of entertainment, converged in a place to do both. In those days, Paris did not have proper sewers or footpaths, and horse-drawn carriages, dirt and mud were a problem for pedestrians, so these galleries or arcades or passageways with a glazed roof were very welcome. They were lined with shops, which attracted people, and nearby were concert or dance halls, theatres, gaming establishments, and eateries. So, the identity of these passages involved amusement, entertainment and commerce, often in a rather elegant setting.

In their heyday, these passages were truly magnificent and very ornate, especially those designated as galleries. A few today show traces of this former glory, but often one needs to imagine how they must have looked. Even so, it’s still a lot of fun to walk through some of these passages and linger to look in small shop windows or stop for a meal or a drink.

Tour Highlights

Touring some of the Passages of Paris

Tour Inclusions


  • ½ day Passages Tour with an experienced professional local guide

Brief Itinerary

1/2 day Passages of Paris Tour

Country Information


All our hotels are excellent four and five star boutique hotels. We highly recommend our hotels as they have excellent services and facilities. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double or twin beds.

Climate & Clothing:

In summer the weather in France is mild to warm, the temperature average between June and July is about 78°F - 26°C. Summers are relatively dry, but rain does occur all year round. The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.

Currency & Money Matters:

The official currency in France is EURO (€). On January 1, 2002, the Euro became the official currency for 300 million Europeans, in use in 12 countries of the European Union. Traveller’s Cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.


The electrical current in France is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.


You must obtain Comprehensive Travel Insurance as a condition of travelling with Boutique Tours & Travel. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking.


French is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.


Our hotels offer a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts with a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening


Medical Services & Facilities:

Our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals in France are very good and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.

Passports & Visas:

To enter France you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. No visa is required for tourists.

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation:

Boutique Tours & Travel suggests that you may like to arrive a day before the start of your tour to allow time to relax and refresh. You are also very welcome to linger longer after the tour is completed.

Boutique Tours & Travel has negotiated special overnight rates at this hotel for both pre and post tour accommodation. Please ask for details at time of booking. Local tour guides are also available on request.

Solo Traveller:

We welcome single travellers and we are able to arrange single accommodation. We negotiate strongly to keep single supplements at a reasonable cost. If you wish to share a room, we will endeavour to match you with another single guest and adjust the costs accordingly and refund any costs after you return home. We accept no responsibility for the suitability of a room partner.

Special Requests:

Specific requests such as adjacent or connecting rooms, bedding requests, smoking or non-smoking rooms and special dietary needs or any other arrangement should be advised at time of booking. Please note that every effort will be made to secure your special request; however, they cannot always be guaranteed.

Time Zone:

France Standard time is GMT +1 (GMT + 2 during Summer Daylight Saving Time)

Tour Group:

Our small group tours provide you with a good balance of group activity and personal discovery.


We generally use modern deluxe minibuses for tours. We also walk where and when it’s suitable.

Water & Beverages:

Our hotels offer bottled water and bottled water is provided throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour except for ‘welcome cocktails’ at first dinner.

Full Itinerary


An experience local tour guide will lead you through a number of Paris Passages.

  • Galarie Vivienne
  • Passage Véro-Dodat
  • Passage Colbert
  • Passage des Panoramas
  • Passage Jouffrey
  • Passage Verdeau


The history of the passages couverts goes back to the Galerie de Bois in the Palais-Royal. Built in 1786 by Philippe d’Orléans, the Galerie was open to the public for a variety of commercial and entertainment purposes – some more savoury than others. Whilst the Galerie de Bois was built in the classical style of French public architecture of the time, the new arcades begun at the turn of the nineteenth-century and represented everything that was modern.

These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which customers will find everything they need”. So says the ‘Illustrated Guide to Paris’ of 1852.

The 1820′s and 1830′s marked the heyday of the passages couverts. In all, 150 were built of which around 20 survive today.

In the early nineteenth century, the idea of ‘indoor shopping’, with a collection of shops sitting ‘cheek by jowl’ (close together) offering a wide variety of merchandise, was as new as the arcades that provided it.

Before the arcades appeared, shopping in Paris was a hazardous business. There were no pavements, the uncertainties of the Parisian climate and the level of street filth and mud made Paris an unsavoury place; not to mention the constant risk of death in the streets. As Baudelaire said, ‘death comes at the gallop from every direction at once’. The concept of a group of shops, inside, under cover, was an attractive proposition to the Parisian public. I suppose we can say that these arcades were the first ‘shopping malls’ that our consumer society seems to be so much in love with today, but now we do it on an industrial scale and with far less elegance.

The decline of the passages couverts owed much to Haussmann and the Grands Magasins; the department stores, another French invention. Over the years, many of the passages couverts fell into decay and a good number disappeared altogether. Thank goodness an number of the Passage have survived and have been restored to their former glory.

The visit starts near the Louvre with a visit of the Galerie Véro-Dodat Arrondissement with its ceiling paintings, wood panelled shop fronts and black marble columns, continuing on to the beautifully restored Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert, (2nd Arr) followed by Passage Choiseuil (2nd Arr) one of the most used passages which has not changed for over 150 years. Then on to Passage Verdeau (9th Arr) built in 1847 which has a photograph shop that exists since 1901; to Passage Jouffrey (9th Arr) which holds the entrance to the Musée Grevin inaugurated in 1882 and where Frederic Chopin lived in the house that holds the Hotel Chopin today.

Built in 1847, the Passage Jouffroy was the first passage couvert to be built entirely of iron and glass and the first to be heated. Throughout its life it has been home to shops selling a wide variety of merchandise – from books and post cards to La Boîte à Joujoux, with its magnificent collection of doll’s houses and all things miniature, to G. Segas, famed for its selection of walking sticks and other curiosities.

The tour finishes with a walk through the Passage des Panoramas (2) which is the second oldest passage in Paris. 

The tour finishes with a walk through the Passage des Panoramas (2nd) which is the second oldest passage in Paris.

Tour Hotels

Paris:  Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero Hotel Vernet Hotel Gramont Opera
    Hotel Saint Vincent Elysees Ceramic
    The Pavillon de Le Reine et Spa


You may choose to mix your hotels; if so please contact us for a new quote.


Salary Packaging:

If you have Salary Packaging at your workplace, you may be entitled to claim for accommodation and or meals. Contact us to discuss this further.

Tour Gallery

Interested in this tour? Take the next step.