Galerie Vivienne, Paris

Galerie Vivienne, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2023

The Galerie Vivienne is one of the covered passages of Paris. It’s the most beautiful one I’ve seen. The gallery has been registered as a historical monument since July 7, 1974. It is 176 meters (577 ft) long and 3 meters (9.8 ft) wide.

The covered passages of Paris (French: Passages couverts de Paris) are an early form of shopping arcade built in Paris, primarily during the first half of the 19th century. By 1867, there were approximately 183 covered passages in Paris but this decreased greatly as a result of Haussmann’s renovation of Paris. Only a couple of dozen passages remain, all on the Right Bank.

The Galerie Vivienne was built in 1823 by Marchoux, President of the Chamber of Notaries, at the location of the Vanel de Serrant hotel and the Petits Peres passage. It was based on plans drawn up by the architect Francois Jean Delannoy. Inaugurated in 1826 under the name Marchoux, but soon renamed Vivienne, the gallery took advantage of its unique location. It attracted many visitors with its tailor shops, cobblers, wine shop, restaurant, Jousseaume bookstore, draper, confectioner, print-seller and so on.

There has historically been competition with the newer, nearby Galerie Colbert, which contains no shops. Since 1960 the Galerie Vivienne has once again become very active. It features fashion and home furnishings, and haute couture shows held there. The installation of Jean Paul Gaultier and Yuki Torii shops in 1986 helped with the resurrection of the gallery. It now houses many shops selling ready-to-wear and decorative items.

Galerie Colbert and Galerie Vivienne, were acquired by the Bibliothèque Nationale. Galerie Colbert houses the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art.


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