Passage des Panoramas

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In context : The covered passageways of Paris

(From : Passage du Caire). Exit the Passage du Caire at du Caire square. Look carefully at the ears of Goddess Hathor, and take note of the french word for the animal that those ears remind you of. Then take d'Aboukir street to the left, and turn right to reach de Cléry street. Opposite, take Poissonnière street, and turn left into des Jeûneurs street, right into Saint-Fiacre street, then left into d'Uzès street, and finally right into Montmartre street up to the Grands Boulevards. Follow Montmartre boulevard a little, and one of the entrance of the Passage des Panoramas will be on your left. There you'll find the Boutique of the Graveur Stern. Take note of the type of metal that is mentioned on its insignia, under the enluminated S. Again, use the french word, not the english one..

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The place

Located between the Montmartre boulevard to the North and Saint-Marc street to the south. It is one of the earliest venues of the Parisian philatelic trade, and it was one of the very first covered, airy commercial passageways in the world.

Bazaars and souks in the Orient had roofed commercial passageways centuries earlier but the passage of Panoramas innovated in having glazed roofing and, later on, gas lights for illumination. It is thus the precursor to all the city gallerias of the XIXth century and the covered suburban and city shopping malls of the XXth century.

The passage was built in 1799 on the former site of the Montmorency-Luxembourg private hotel. Its name comes from an attraction installed above the original entry : two rotundas where panoramic views representing the landscapes of large cities were projected. The rotundas were destroyed in 1831.

In the 1830s, the architect Jean-Louis Victor Grisart renovated the passage and created three additional galleries inside the block of houses : the Saint-Marc gallery parallel with the passage, the gallery of the Varietes which gives access to the entry of the artists of the theatre of the Varietes, and the Feydeau galleries and Montmartre.

Stern the famous engraver settled there in 1834, then merchants of postcards and postage stamps, and some restaurants moved in. The part of the passage close to the Montmartre boulevard is richly decorated, while the distant part is more modest. The passage, as it was in 1867, is described in chapter VII of Émile Zola's novel Nana.

Source : Wikipedia contributors, "Passage des Panoramas"

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  • Opening hours - Everyday, 6am-midnight
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