There are spots in Paris that were ingenious during their time of introduction, and still maintain that sense of form and function. Paris’ covered passages are so indicative of the early to mid-1800’s that whenever I stroll through them I feel immediately transported to a past golden-age; out shopping on a rainy day in search of a hat of some sorts.
Such covered passages were where a certain higher class clientele would shop, particularly to escape the sometimes gloomy, rainy, often odorous, city-street environment. The atmosphere in these passages is lit with warm light chandeliers and sconces, in addition to the overhead natural light coming in from the ceiling windows. Often when passing through I feel that I should be wearing clicking heels. The sound of them tapping along the decorative mosaic floor is appropriate for the scene; it goes quite well with the overhead raindrops tapping on the glass rooftop.
I have had several out-of-era sequences occur while passing through. There is one settle performance that remains vividly in my mind. Of course it happened on a grey Paris day, in the Galerie Vivienne. A beautiful, elegant young lady with ruby red lipstick wearing an accommodating headscarf sat in the decadent Bistrot Vivienne sipping on some sort of warm boisson. She had a distinct modern edge, not contradicting, but enhancing the reality of the scene. She sat under a realistic portrait of a 19th century-esque mustached-French man. Her poise was cool and confident, and I felt completely transported.
The covered passages were eventually replaced by the ornate and elaborate Galeries Lafayette in 1894. Though some passages have modernized themselves with updated shops and boutiques, others have faded out, making these beautiful shopping streets another treasure found and adored throughout Paris.