In the heart of Paris...
Let's say you get out of the Louvre. You proceed on the right Bank and you find yourself in front of the wonderful building of la Comédie Française. You see far away the Opera with its golden statues looking at you. You walk along the Comédie Française and you enter the square of the Colonnes de Buren at le Palais Royal. After years ans years of renovations, you will finally see the gardens of the Palais Royal in all their beauty:
After a nice walk in the Palais Royal's Garden (surrounded by luxuous boutiques), take the old stairs and you will get out at Rue des Petits Champs.
One of the entrances of the Galerie Vivienne is at number 4. There, you are in that side of the "Rive Droite" that (even if less than le Marais) still shelters something very intimate compared to other areas of the city.... The right bank has a kind of "cold" charm: it is the part of Paris that has been more detroyed by Haussmann, who was chosen by the Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive program of new boulevards, parks and public works in Paris. Even if some people do not agree with his vision, the Haussmanian changes can be seen all around the heart of the capital...and it is true that he destroyed "half" Paris to build what we still see today.
Once you will be inside, you will notice immediately two things:
- There is a very special and bright light,
- The noises from "outside" seems to desappear.
It is like you are entering in another dimension. A silent and bright bubble in the core of Paris.
The gallery was built in 1823 by Marchoux, President of the Chamber of Notaries, during the Restauration. In 1823, Louis XVIII is ruling in France: he will die in 1824. The architect, JF Delannoy, ends the Galerie in 1826. The decor is quite unique and rare for Paris: neo-classical Pompeian style covered with an elegant canopy, with mosaics, paintings and sculptures exalting trade. The 42 metres (138 ft) long gallery is sheltered by a glazed rotunda with a hemispherical glass dome that allows for air circulation. The idea of providing protected shopping 'centers' is as old as trading : no one wants the goods to be ruined or deterred by weather conditions. It it a more chic way to make shopping, right? : )
Vincent found an ancient book of the XVIII century here about Homere... a Master piece and the price was just more than honest!
Today you find a very nice place where to have a nice Berthillon Icecream, a very nice library with an amazing old librarian who can teach you a lot about the Galerie... and life! (see the pictures above). Shops also has a really Parisian charm, so do not miss them!