Trecerile timpului

Strada Julie se plimba pe arcadele istorice ale Parisului, unde buticuri si ateliere din marmura, alama si sticla.

Cand o trupa de arhitecti vizionari au proiectat arcadele comerciale din Paris la sfarsitul secolului al XIX-lea, au folosit cea mai buna tehnologie din epoca industriala, creand un labirint de structuri din fier forjat, completate de luminatoare de sticla inspirate. Aceste „pasaje de pasagere” ofereau pietonilor accesorii nevazute anterior, cum ar fi iluminat cu gaz, incalzire si refugiu de pe strazile murdare din Paris. Captusite cu magazine elegante, cafenele la moda, teatre, sali de lectura si bai publice, pasajele au atras o multime colorata de cumparatori, cautatori de placere si flaneuri – dandies urbane care au plimbat arcadele, observand si asigurandu-se ca sunt respectate.

Desi conceptul arcadei a fost copiat in toata Europa, constructia pasajelor pariziene a durat doar cateva decenii; disparitia lor a fost semnalata de sosirea primului magazin de la Paris, Le Bon Marche, in 1852. Mai multe note cuverturi au cazut la balul naufragiat al baronului Haussmann in anul urmator.

Doua secole in urma, aproximativ 20 din cele 150 de pasaje care au strabatut orasul raman, iar Ville de Paris a lansat o campanie pentru a plasa aceste triumfuri arhitecturale odata extrase de Balzac, Baudelaire si suprarealisti pe lista patrimoniului mondial UNESCO.

Passage des Panoramas

Prima oprire pentru explorarea arcadelor pe jos ar trebui sa fie Passage des Panoramas. A doua cea mai veche arcada supravietuitoare a orasului – construita in 1800 si imortalizata in romanul Nana Emile Zola – a fost numita dupa imensele panorame circulare ale scenelor istorice afisate la intrarea sa. Tablourile, precum celebrul Cafe Veron, sunt demult, cu fatada Belle Epoque a restaurantului L’Arbre a Cannelle (nr.57) indicand opulenta anilor trecuti.

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Pasajul, care a incantat vizitatorii ca fiind primul loc public gaslit din Paris, arata astazi mult mai putin luxos. Folosit de localnici ca o scurtatura pentru a scapa de traficul de pe bulevardele grands, pasajul are un aspect ciudat, de moda veche. Trecatorii pot rasfoi magazine in filatelie si dealeri de carti postale vintage, iar un intrigant magazin de autografe (nr. 60) afiseaza scrisori de Rodin si Flaubert alaturi de fotografiile semnate ale lui Ernest Hemingway.

Incetineste-ti pasul catre mersul ambling al flaneurului din secolul al XIX-lea si vei descoperi o serie de alte atractii, cum ar fi magazinul de moda etica Maalkita, cadrul de arta personalizat Annie Guillemard si Tombees du Camion, un „cabinet de curiosites” kitsch vinde totul, de la capetele papusilor din portelan pana la bijuterii din anii ’70.

Array

Deschiderea Pasajului 53 al lui Shinichi Sato in 2009 a marcat Passage des Panoramas ca un nou punct de reincarcare. Tanarul bucatar japonez are doua stele Michelin pentru abordarea sa inradacinata la bucataria inalta, iar rezervarile pentru restaurantul sau de marime de buzunar trebuie facute saptamani inainte. Sato se afla si in spatele noului Gyoza Bar (nr.56), care are hipster-uri in coada pentru galuste japoneze prajite. Intre timp, bloggerii alimentari parizieni se ocupa de vinurile biodinamice servite la Racines (nr. 8) si meniul de pranz fixe de pe piata de la Le Diable Verre (nr. 38).

Pasaj Jouffroy

Traversati drumul in Passage Jouffroy si vibratia foodie continua la Le Valentin, o micuta ceainica tentanta care serveste goale traditionale si biscuiti facuti manual. La Cure Gourmande, o confiserie moderna, al carei ambalaj in stil vintage inspira nostalgie pentru copilaria franceza pe care nu ati avut-o niciodata, puteti gasi bonuri speciale, inclusiv calissons, turron si masline au chocolat (migdale acoperite cu ciocolata). Pain d’Epices, un magazin de jucarii chiar peste drum, completeaza fantezia retro cu varfurile de invartire de moda veche, fluiere de rata din lemn si accesorii de chichi pentru case de papusi, inclusiv cazi cu gheare si candelabre in miniatura. Le Petit Roi (nr. 39) se adreseaza fanilor lui Asterix, Tintin si Becassine (camerista bretona care a fost prima femeie protagonista din istoria benzi desenate).

Cei care doresc sa urmeze pe urmele dandiilor din secolul al XIX-lea ar trebui sa viziteze Galerie Segas la numarul 34. Aceasta boutique de tip boudoir cu catifea rosie pastreaza bastoane de mers antice din sticla, soacra, iarba tesuta si multe altele. Pomele sunt realizate in capete de animale, talismane si chiar un bust al lui Francois Premier, insa adevarata vedeta a magazinului este o cultura sadomasochista rara din infamul bordel parizian Unu-doi-doi.

Cei ale caror fantezii se apleaca spre versiunea de Marie Antoinette din Sofia Coppola ar trebui sa se indrepte catre La Maison du Roy, un boutique cu decor luxos, care vinde reeditii de mobilier baroc alaturi de antichitati autentice.

Pentru a experimenta o felie de istorie, rezervati o camera la Hotel Chopin (nr. 46), care si-a deschis usile in 1846, in acelasi an a fost construit pasajul.

Pasaj Choiseul

Aceasta arcada, construita intre 1825 si 1827, nu a reusit sa ajunga pe lista monumentelor istorice asa cum au facut Passage Jouffroy si Hotel Chopin, si a cazut in decpitudine. Acum, datorita unei finantari acordate de autoritatile orasului Paris, Passage Choiseul va reface copertina de sticla care se scurge si pictura peeling. Are o istorie ilustra: scriitoarea Celine a trait aici de copil, iar Teatrul des Bouffes Parisiens din Offenbach a fost fondat la numarul 65. Hainele de chilipir ale lui Choiseul, magazinele de bagaje ieftine si ghiseele de pranz stand-up ofera locului o senzatie vaga de tip suk (ceea ce se potriveste, avand in vedere ca bazarurile din Orientul Mijlociu erau un prototip pentru pasajele pariziene). Navigarea atenta a acestei arcade in varf dezvaluie pietre pretioase, inclusiv magazinul de aprovizionare de arta Adam & Lavrut de la nr.52 (magazin aici pentru caiete de moleskin si smocuri de pictori), si Boisnard graveur la nr.83, recomandat pentru stilouri Montblanc si portofele din piele. Dupa ce ati ales un cadou in stil retro de la L’Effet Bulles (nr. 11), bucurati-va de o preparare organica de la Bioburger (nr. 46) sau luati o bautura la ora de pranz la Zen siesta bar (nr. 29).

Passage du Grand Cerf

Construit in acelasi an cu Passage Choiseul, Passage du Grand Cerf s-a bucurat de o soarta mai buna. Lucrarile elegante din fier forjat si fatadele cu panouri din lemn au fost restaurate la sfarsitul anilor 1980, iar galeria cu trei etaje gazduieste designeri de moda, producatori de bijuterii si artizani, multi dintre ei putand fi gasiti in spatele lor. Atelier-buticuri.

Abordati-va de trecerea din cartierul foodie de pe rue Montorgueil, mai degraba decat de fasia de culoare rosie aprinsa de pe rue St Denis si vizitati Anne Defromont, o gemologa care vinde bijuterii antice si recreatii contemporane de piese de epoca. Alaturi, Sylvie Branellec se bazeaza pe perle de cultura, iar Cecile Boccara (nr. 8) creeaza „bijuterii textile” din tesaturi de lux. Lucrarea lui Boccara a aparut pe pantofii Roger Vivier si a conceput accesorii couture pentru Valentino si Christian Lacroix, care i-au catapultat pe bijutierii Eric & Lydie (No.7) la faima.

Nu parasiti pasajul fara a verifica ochelarii de epoca de la „Vos Beaux Yeux”, sapunurile handmade de la De Marseille et d’Ailleurs si platourile de ciocolata copioase de la cafeneaua de cartier de sold Le Pas Sage.

Galerie Vero-Dodat

It’s hard to understand why it took until 1997 for Galerie Vero-Dodat to be restored to its neoclassical glory. Opened in 1826 to cater to a well-heeled clientele who alighted from stagecoaches in rue Bouloi, the Galerie features marble columns, a stunning black-and-white mosaic floor and a coffered ceiling painted with frescoes. The wood-panelled shop fronts are intact, with original brass-arched window frames that showcase a range of costly antiques. The Galerie contains a few curiosities such as the traditional lute-maker R & F Charle, which sells and restores all kinds of stringed instruments, and the exclusive cobbler Minuit moins sept. Since shoemaker-to-the-stars Christian Louboutin installed his flagship store in the Galerie, Minuit moins sept has become the only repair shop in the world accredited to replace the maestro’s red soles. The cosmetics guru Terry de Gunzburg followed Louboutin into the arcade in 1998, opening her first boutique at No.21 when she launched her cult make-up line, By Terry. Sadly, the shutter has descended on Catherine Deneuve’s favourite antique doll shop at No.26. Its former owner Robert Capia now devotes his time to running the Association Passages et Galeries, which campaigns for the preservation of Paris’s historic arcades and organises regular walking tours of the passages, in English.

Galerie Vivienne

This grande dame of Parisian passages rivals Galerie Vero-Dodat in elegance and timeless chic. The sumptuous arcade, built in 1823, was one of the first Parisian passages to be renovated and its Italian mosaic floor, ornate mouldings and bas-reliefs are impeccably restored. Shopping highlights include Si tu veux, an upmarket toy shop specialising in wooden toys, Emilio Robba, a „sculptor” of silk flowers, and the historic wine shop and gourmet epicerie Legrand Filles & Fils.

Bookworms will enjoy perusing the shelves of Librairie Jousseaume (No.45), a former haunt of the writers Alfred Jarry and Louis Aragon, while fashionistas can shop for the latest looks at Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yuki Torii and Nathalie Garcon. Visit the Galerie during Couture Week and you’ll find bevies of fashion editors brunching at A Priori The, snapping up second-hand designer labels at La Marelle or slipping silk shawls across the shoulders inside the 19th-century fabric emporium Wolff & Descourtis.

Galerie du Palais-Royal

Exit Galerie Vivienne via rue des Petits-Champs and cross the road to Passage des Deux Pavillons, a hidden alleyway popular with busking opera singers. Stylish Parisiennes in the know shop here for glamorous shoes by British Vogue darling Rupert Sanderson and custom-made eyewear from Maison Bonnet, a couture institution dating to the 1930s.

Follow the winding passageway to its end, descend a tiny staircase and you’ll emerge on rue de Beaujolais at the northern end of Palais-Royal, the site of another historic shopping arcade. Louis XIV left the original palace of 1639 to his brother, but by the time Palais-Royal came under the control of Philippe, Duc d’Orleans, the latter was riddled with debt. In 1781, the duke came up with the idea of opening the palace gardens to the public and turning the vaulted stone arcades around them into a shopping and entertainment area. By 1789, Palais-Royal was home to a debauched mix of billiard halls, brothels, gambling dens and coffee houses which, because Philippe denied the police entry to the arcades, became hotbeds of revolution. More than two centuries on, Palais-Royal has dropped the debauchery but retains its vibrancy as a high-end shopping destination. Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Rick Owens have boutiques here alongside the flagship stores of cult French footwear designer Pierre Hardy and luxury Italian bag-maker Corto Moltedo.

Modern-day femmes fatales will love the custom-made gloves with couture finishings at Mary Beyer (32-33 Galerie de Montpensier) while urban dandies opt for Great Gatsby-style driving gloves at Maison Fabre (128-129 Galerie de Valois), a renowned gantier founded in 1924. Didier Ludot, the legendary vintage dealer, showcases his museum-quality collection of haute couture at 20-24 Galerie de Montpensier. Ludot’s own, more affordable, line of little black dresses is sold across the way at La Petite Robe Noire (125 Galerie de Valois.)

If you end your visit with an apero on the outdoor terrace of Restaurant Palais-Royal, glance up at the apartments above the arcades, which were once home to Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais and the notorious French novelist and stage performer Colette, who died after drinking a last glass of champagne.

FAST FACTS

Shopping there

  • Passage des Panoramas at 11 boulevard Montmartre. Metro: Grands Boulevards.
  • Passage Jouffroy at 10-12 boulevard Montmartre. Metro: Grands Boulevards.
  • Passage Choiseul at 40 rue des Petits-Champs. Metro: Quatre-Septembre.
  • Passage du Grand-Cerf at 10 rue Dussoubs. Metro: Etienne Marcel.
  • Galerie Vivienne at 4 rue des Petits-Champs. Metro: Bourse.
  • Galerie Vero-Dodat at 19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Metro: Louvre.

Other noteworthy passages

  • Passage Brady for Indian restaurants, spice stores and sari shops. At 46 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. Metro: Strasbourg Saint-Denis.
  • Passage du Prado for its Art Deco glass roof and Mauritian fast food. At 12 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. Metro: Strasbourg Saint-Denis.
  • Passage du Caire for the hieroglyphics and Egyptian goddess heads. At 2 place du Caire. Metro: Sentier.
  • Galerie Colbert for its rotunda and Belle Epoque brasserie Le Grand Colbert, at 2 rue Vivienne. Metro: Bourse.

More information

Association Passages et Galeries, see www.passagesetgaleries.org.

Jun 16 2012