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.