The first covered gallery was built in the 2nd arrondissement in 1798 (Le Passage du Caire) and was designed to be a location where shoppers could visit numerous boutiques within an enclosed gallery – in other words the very first shopping mall! At the height of their glory in the Belle Epoque, the galleries were chic malls with high-end designers, artisans, boutiques and bistros.
Built in the style of Eiffel, they were architectural gems constructed in wrought iron and glass. But the rise of department stores such as Le Printemps and Les Galéries Lafayette caused their decline and by the end of WWII the galleries were neglected and abandoned. Rediscovered in the 1990s the city has begun renovating these gems and several have been named Historical Monuments. Ellen will take you on a visit of these pearls, with their shops, bookstores & secret passages. You will discover some of the lesser known monuments of Paris.