Sheltering from the rain in Galerie Vivienne

The heavens decided to open up while we were in the vicinity of Rue des Petits-Champs in Paris after many, many hours in the Louvre and a wonderful souffle lunch at – where else but – Le Souffle! So we ducked into the Galerie Vivienne, one of the historic ‘Passages Couverts’ in Paris.Galerie Vivienne – 4 Rue Petits Champs

Built specifically to shelter shoppers from bad weather, these covered passages ensured a genteel shopping experience to wealthy clients. Most had two or more entrances, so their carriages could drop off shoppers at one, and pick them up at the other so as to ensure minimum exertion! Aah the life of privilege.

Of the 140 or so pedestrian passages that existed in Paris in the early 1900’s, only 20 such passages remain. The Galerie Vivienne is one of the most beautifully restored, with gorgeous glass roofs, mosaic floors, smart cafes and elegant shops! It was a Sunday, unfortunately, and most of the shops were closed. But a delightful cup of tea at “A priori thé“ while we waited out the sun, was just the break we needed, before we took off again into the rain washed streets of Paris.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

82 thoughts on “Sheltering from the rain in Galerie Vivienne

  1. Hi,
    That is just magnificent, so beautiful, I love the architecture of the walkway, you just don’t see anything like that today, you have captured the atmosphere of the place beautifully in your photos.

  2. I missed this place when I went to Paris almost five years ago. Well, in fact I’ve never heard of this place before. But somehow it reminds me of Galerie de la Reine in Brussels!

    1. There are around 20 of these Bama, each with a different atmosphere. I hope to explore more of them on my next visit. Thank you for reading!

  3. Love the pictures! Did you know I spent a semester abroad living in Paris? I was 21 and wow, it was such an amazing experience! I really love Paris —-it is my favorite city in the world! Thanks for bringing me back!

    1. Mine too! If all goes according to plan I should be back there with my daughter next year! Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

  4. After London, Paris is my favourite city. I can’t say I’ve been to Gallerie Vivienne though – looks luuuuuuvley. 🙂

  5. Oh wow! That is so amazing! Every time I look at your photo’s you take me there. Thanks for the awesome virtual tour hon. 🙂
    *big hugs*

  6. I can’t think of a better place to duck in out of the rain. Beautiful! I love the first picture (love them all!)


  7. Beautiful. A souffle in Paris! Fabulous! Especially after a long look around the Louvre. I love the mosaics in this and was that a painted Japanese screen or a bonsai?

  8. These photos are stunning! Thank you for transporting me (if only temporarily) to a delightfully romantic and enchanting experience. 🙂

  9. Fabulous Madhu, I’ve been to some of these ‘passages’ but before I had a decent camera so its great to see your shots!

    1. I did too! It has been faithfully restored. You will visit Paris some day, if you really want it bad enough! Of that I have no doubt! Take care.

    1. Yes! I believe this one is the most beautiful. The Galerie Colbert – next door – has a very beautiful dome!

  10. I’ve travelled quite a bit and still reckon in Europe, Paris is the most alluring. But some of my friends say there is much promise in eastern European cities – Prague, Budapest, Bucharest…plan to get around there…

    1. Paris is my favourite city of all! But yes those Eastern European cities do sound very promising and are very high on our bucket list! Thank you for stopping by to comment Eric! Hope to see you around 🙂

  11. What a lovely way to wait out the rain as so many others have done for years. Thank you for sharing your photos.

  12. The passages are marvellous, aren’t they? It might have been a shame these elegant shops weren’t open (though with hubby in tow, perhaps it wouldn’t have been such an exuberant exploration!) but the lack of shoppers has given you free rein to photograph the building itself (as opposed to a streetscape). And, a lovely shelter story. Beautiful, and great memory prompts for me, which has been lovely.

    1. Happy to have refreshed fond memories! Shall return to those shops with the daughter next year, to drool if not to shop 🙂

  13. We skipped Paris on our tour but right now, these lovely images will do. This is just as I picture Paris arcades in my mind, Madhu. 🙂
    Btw, I grinned at that bit about the two shop entrances. Sooo spoiled those genteel shoppers, haha.

    1. There are several around that area. You could google to check out which ones you like and which are on your route for the day. Well worth a look see 🙂

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