Paris’s covered passages: Passage Jouffroy

passage jouffroy

The covered passages in Paris, such as Passage Jouffroy, Passage des Panoramas, and Galerie Vivienne, are invitations to travel back in time. Each passage is full of fascinating history, antique shops and beautiful cafes. Despite their proximity, every passage is different – each has its vibe and style. 

Covered passages in Paris, also known as “passages couverts,” are a unique and charming feature of the city’s architectural and cultural landscape. These passages gained popularity in the 19th century and served as early shopping malls, providing sheltered walkways for elegant Parisians to browse shops, cafes, and entertainment venues. The history of covered passages in Paris is a fascinating journey through urban development and societal changes.

Situated between Boulevard Montmartre and Rue de la Grange-Batelière, Passage Jouffroy a historic covered passage dating back to 1847. Positioned conveniently across from the renowned Passage des Panoramas, this extension was conceived to replicate the commercial success of its neighbour, providing a rain-free shopping experience all year long.

Passage Jouffroy is one of the most beautiful passages in Paris. The intricate metal and glass canopy, complemented by an ornate stucco clock, covers the passage. Its floor features a geometric pattern of white, grey, and black squares. I love browsing the cute little shops searching for a unique present for my family and friends.

History of Passage Jouffroy

The passage was opened in 1847 by Count Félix de Jouffroy-Gonsans and Verdeau, and quickly gained prominence, notably housing the Musée Grévin since 1882. Recognized as one of the most modern passages of its time, it boasted innovative features like floor heating, setting a precedent for contemporary malls. It was the first Parisian passage to be constructed entirely in iron and glass, with only decorative elements in wood. The expansive, rounded glass roof floods the space with natural light.

The covered passage offered a spectacle of opulence, hosting upscale establishments such as milliners, hat makers, tailors, and glove makers. It also featured restaurants, a dance hall and a puppet theatre.

Musée Grévin

In 1882, a ground breaking attraction opened in Passage Jouffroy – the Musée Grévin wax museum. Conceived by Le Gaulois newspaper director Arthur Meyer and caricaturist Alfred Grévin, the museum quickly became a major attraction in the district. Its unique concept allowed the public to “put a face” on famous personalities and historical figures in an era before widespread photography. Buy your Musée Grévin tickets here if you want to explore this more unusual museum.

Hotel Chopin

There is even a hotel inside Passage Jouffrey! Hotel Chopin dates back to the opening of the passage in 1846 and is one of the oldest hotels in Paris. It underwent a name change in 1970, adopting its current name, “Hotel Chopin”, as a homage to the famed composer Frédéric Chopin. It is said that Chopin frequented the passage, using it as a route from his residence to Pleyel’s piano demonstration room. While legends suggest a rendezvous between Chopin and Georges Sand at Hotel Chopin, historical verification of such claims remains elusive. A distinctive aspect of Hotel Chopin is its perpetually open door. Since its establishment in 1846, the hotel entrance has never been shut, owing to the absence of a lock. Consequently, the front desk is staffed every day of the week, around the clock.

Inside Passage Jouffrey

Today, the passage is considered to be one of the most well-preserved covered passages in Paris, retaining its historical and architectural features. It is still home to various shops, boutiques, cafes, Musée Grévin and Hotel Chopin.

Favourite addresses:

Food and drink

Le Valentin, 30 Passage Jouffroy

If you want an afternoon break for tea (or coffee) and dessert, Le Valentin is a great spot to do just that. With everything made in-house, they offer delicious traditional pastries (try their almond croissant!) and fancy desserts (like Mont Blanc and Baba au Rhum). Seating is available both inside the restaurant and outdoors along the passage. You can also buy their boxed chocolates and jams in the store to bring back home as a souvenir.

Loutsa, 10 boulevard Monmartre, Passage Jouffroy

Loutsa is a speciality coffee roaster, and you’re guaranteed a good cup of coffee in this branch. The coffee chain has other stores in Paris to visit, and you can order their coffee beans online, too.

La Cure Gourmande, 10-12 Passage Jouffroy

There are several locations of this sweets shop in Paris, but the store in Passage Jouffroy is just adorable. You can choose from ready-made boxes of cookies, chocolate and various confectionery or create a mix to fill for yourself. They make wonderful advent calendars, such as this year’s one with a small village of houses filled with sweets. You open a little house or tree daily to reveal yummy treasures. You can order from them online for delivery to your home.

Shopping

Pain d’Épices, 29 Passage Jouffroy

When I first saw the name of the shop, I thought the shop sold actual “Pain d’Épices” or French spice bread. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a paradise for children’s toys. Traditional wooden toys coexist harmoniously with modern counterparts. However, the true showstopper is the incredible assortment of dollhouses, complemented by hundreds of miniature figures and objects. From tiny perfume bottles and tiny accordions to mini Chanel bags, the store captures the essence of daily life in perfect replicas.
Pain d’Épices has been a cherished destination for over 50 years and is a must-visit shop for unique toys.

Galerie Fayet, 34 Passage Jouffroy

This extraordinary boutique specializes in walking stick canes and umbrellas. Galerie Fayet represents the Fayet family business founded in 1909—the last remaining cane factory in France. The store offers a glimpse into the 19th-century ambience when canes were a vital accessory for men’s elegance. Here, you will find everyday canes and high-end canes made of gold, silver, crocodile leather, horns, and precious stones.

Librarie du Passage, 48 Passage Jouffroy

Librarie du Passage is one of the oldest bookstores in Paris, founded in 1850. It has a timeless appearance, inside and outside, with shelves filled with books of all sizes and ages. Here, you can find fine arts reference books, French posters, and many old and collectable books.

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