When I was a child, the passage with its stamp shops seemed to me too sad and too quiet. Today, it is more lively especially with new restaurants, like the first gluten free restaurant that opened in Paris. The legendary
engraver Stern, established since 1834, known by the Parisian high society for their calling cards, menus cards and announcements has now been replaced by a fine Italian restaurant.
passage, which is standing at the side of the Theatre des Variétés is described by Emile Zola in his novel, Nana. The following extract reminds me quite the excitement I had as a child in the Passage Jouffroy …
"She adored the Passage des Panoramas, a survival of her childhood passion for flashy fancy goods, dress jewellery, fake leather, and rolled gold. Whenever she went through there, she could never tear herself away from the various
displays, just like the down-at-heel little chit of a girl who used to stand dreamily staring at the sweets in a confectioner’s, listening to a barrel-organ playing in a nearby shop; she had a special weakness for cheap and gaudy knick-knacks, vanity
cases made of nutshells, rag-and-bone men’s baskets in which to stuff toothpicks, or thermometers in the shape of Vendôme columns and obelisks. "
Nana - Emile Zola
now take the Galerie des Variétés on the left and then the deserted Galerie Saint-Marc which ends at n°8, rue Saint-Marc where we make a right.
We now walk in front of the main entrance of
the Passage des Panoramas, at n°10. The high arched doorway captured by Atget is gone, together with the southern part of the Passage, demolished in the 20th century. It has been replaced by an ugly doorway topped with high buildings.
At n°18, is a mansion once owned by Magon de la Balue, a prominent Court banker at the time Choiseul was the Chief minister of king Louis XV. It is a nice transition to go now
to rue and Passage Choiseul …