One of the things I like to do when I travel is visit some of the more out of the way places. In Paris, one such place is Gallery Vivienne.
Around 200 years old, it’s one of many passageways built specifically for shops and cafes. These passageways were a forerunner to the modern-day mall, because they were enclosed to keep their wealthy patrons shielded from the cold, damp european winters. Lots of them have disappeared, but Gallery Vivienne has survived.
You enter through a nondescript iron gate in a grey street. There’s no glitzy sign or flashing lights, and you could miss it, but you wouldn’t want to.
Gallery Vivienne is a haven of rustic charm in the middle of Paris. Its filled with statues and mosaics, and covered by a glass roof. I’m sure its only a faded memory of its former glory, but it has aged (and been renovated) sympathetically.
The shops are all small and unique. Ok, small, unique, and expensive, but you can always look.
Bistrot Vivienne is a restaurant to die for (which you might consider as an option for a moment when you look at the menu, but their prices are no more than elsewhere in Paris).
Les Caves Legrand is a wine shop. Not that there’s any shortage of wine shops in France, but this one’s been there for over a hundred years, and is often rated as one of the best in Paris.
Of course, my favorite place is the bookstore, Librairie Ancienne and Moderne.
The shop is piled high with old books, and has the wonderful musty smell of paper. The haphazard arrangement and the gentle illumination make the place feel more like a personal library than a shop. I had a conversation with the owner. I don’t think either of us understood much the other said, but he was a nice guy.
How about you? Found any out of the way places on your travels?
Love the pictures! Thanks so much for telling us about these places and sharing your snapshots. You’re making me want to travel. 🙂
I’m always finding out of the way places when I travel. I tend to wander off alone specifically for that purpose. I have the best time that way.
All you have to do is pack! Well, ok, sort out the animals, kids, laundry, bills, tickets, passports, schedules, and a few other things. Other than that it’s easy to take a getaway 🙂
I adore the out of the way little courtyards in New Orleans, oases of solitude secreted amidst the hustle and bustle.
Yes, secret courtyards in big cities do it for me, too. There’s something about being in the middle of all the hustle and bustle and not being stressed!
I truly love the library pictures. The next time I travel I need to start looking for more “local” spots rather than just the touristy stuff. 🙂
Thanks Kitt, it was a lovely shop. We found this place listed in a tourist guide a few years ago. Often there’s good websites where people post about their experiences in smaller places that the big tourist places don’t bother with.
Lovely! Thanks for the glimpse of Paris, Nigel.
I dream of eating my way through the restaurants of Europe, but first I’d have to get there. My problem is that after four or five hours on an airplane, I need to step outside for a breath of fresh air. At 40,000 feet over the Atlantic, that first step would be a doozy.
Ah yes, the 40,000ft, -60C, 600mph breeze makes wing-walking an unpopular pastime on transatlantic flights. The crew get a little upset too, especially if said wing-walker gets sucked into an engine. The alternative is a good meal, a glass or two of wine, and sleeping your way across. Just make sure you have the good meal before you get on the flight. Little plastic packets of reheated something-or-other never seem to do the trick for me 🙂