Steps away from the Bourse de Paris and situated in the second arrondissement of the city, Passage Choiseul is a hidden gem tucked away from the bustling Haussmannian streets which surround it. Like many of the other covered passages of Paris, the covered arcade dates all the way back to the early 19th-century. Here’s how to visit, as well as a brief history!
A brief history of Passage Choiseul
Continuing on from rue Choiseul, it may well surprise visitors to the city that the passage has actually only been open to visitors since summer of 2013. Prior to this, the passage was actually formed of four hôtel particuliers, under private ownership.
One of the most famous residents of the passage is the author, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, who lived in the passage while he was growing up in the early 1900s. Though he mentioned the arcade in two of his works (Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan), he didn’t have many nice things to say about the passage and described it as ‘smelling like dog’s urine’.
The longest covered passage in the French capital, Passage Choiseul measures 190 meters long and 3.7 meters wide and extensive renovation works were undertaken in 2012 before its opening to the public just a year later. Today, the covered arcade boasts many chic shops on the ground floor, while the first floor is predominantly residential space, with a few exceptions of shops constructed over two floors.
There are three public entrances; 40 rue des Petits Champs, 23 rue Saint-Augustin, and 40 rue Dalayrac. The passage is free to visit and is open to the general public from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays (much like many of the other covered passages of Paris). The closest metro stop is Pyramides, though there are plenty of other stations within a ten to fifteen minute walk.
Particular highlights include the LAVRUT art shop (a one stop shop for all your art supply needs; from stationery to fine paints, LAVRUT Choiseul has everything you could possibly want), clock makers, jewellery vendors, and several different eateries and bars. There are also several galleries selling fine art pieces.
Nearby things to see and do close to Passage Choiseul
Thanks to Passage Choiseul’s location quite literally in the heart of the city, a stroll inside the arcade is easily enough combined with a trip to several of Paris’ other iconic locations. Perfect for a quick escape from the rain during bad weather days or a quick bite to eat in a unique location, here are some other Parisian attractions worth checking out close by…
Jardin du Palais Royal
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful places to spy magnolia in Paris during the springtime, then you need to look no further than the gardens of Palais Royal. Surrounded by arcades of shops and once the residence of royalty, today the gardens are the perfect place to relax, read a book, and watch the world go by. Also within the walls of Palais-Royal, you’ll soon discover the Colonnes de Buren, candy-striped columns which form a controversial art installation.
Jardin des Tuileries
Paris’ answer to New York’s Central Park is that of the Jardin des Tuileries, which is so-called because it’s located on the site of a former tile factory. Beautiful and filled with spring blooms during the earlier months of the year, the park truly comes to life during the summer when Parisians hang out with their friends, a carousel operates in the park, and people laze around and read. If you’re looking for one of the most iconic green spaces in Paris, then you simply need to head to the Jardin des Tuileries.
Palais Garnier Opera House
One of the most impressive, beautiful, and notable buildings in Paris is that of the Palais Garnier Opera House. Close to the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps flagship department stores, the opera house dates all the way back to the mid 19th-century and was even the inspiration for the Phantom of the Opera! Today, you can watch live performances, or alternatively book a visit so as to admire the architecture and learn more about the history of the building. Book your self-guided opera house tickets here in advance.