Things were getting a bit out of hand with all the fashion these past few weeks and I've completely neglected my travel and photography section, so I decided to talk to you today about one of my recent findings in Paris - the Galerie Vivienne (and anyway, the Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week starts today with among others the collections of Christian Dior and Giorgio Armani Privé, so why not talk about Paris?! oh dear... I'm talking about fashion AGAIN! Seems like I have a problem...).
So, going back to my topic for today, the Galerie Vivienne is a beautiful covered passageway between two buildings dating from the early 19th century. It's full of the old Paris charm with wooden panels, mirrors in unexpected places, fanlight windows, sculptures of nymphs and goddesses in the rotunda and mosaic on the floors. The stores in here are delightful, with old style door frames and signs and you can find anything from designer clothes to rugs, decorations, eyewear and a bookstore. The salon de thé or the café restaurant are a great place to have a break while shopping or visiting the surrounding area. Apart from this, the gallery also hosts a series of events on a regular basis, such as book signings, wine tasting and even fashion shows - the place is amazing!
To look back into the history of the place, the Galerie Vivienne was originally called the Galerie Marchoux after a wealthy man who had bought the two adjacent buildings and the passageway between them, the Passage des Petits-Pères, and decided to turn it into a covered passageway lined with shops. The name was soon changed into Galerie Vivienne. The idea of such a passageway was very in vogue at that time and the positioning of the gallery between the Royal Palace, the Stock Exchange and the Grands Boulevards granted it a total success until the 1870s. At that time it was said that "...no other arcade is better situated than the Galerie Viviene to be a lively thoroughfare and a vibrant centre of activity". After its success as a gallery started to fade out, the Galerie Vivienne also hosted a lyric theatre.
Don't be fooled by the rays of sunlight, the weather's not that great in Paris right now, I took these pictures last summer when I discovered the place and the cool air inside the gallery gave me a nice break from the excruciating heat outside. I can't wait to go back now, it was a really inspiring discovery!