Built before shopping malls were conceived of, Paris’s 19th Century covered passageways are evocative of a time when people had time to linger. Topped with glass domes, these arcades have columns, arches, crystal candelabras, cornices carved with sheaves of wheat, laurel wreaths, and cornucopias. Shops and cafes open to mosaic walkways. Galerie Vivienne, built in the early 1800s, has small shops of elegant items you won’t find anywhere else, a rare book store, and a tea shop. A Priori Thé has with excellent scones and jam to go with your tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
When the weather is too severe and the swarm of tourists is too thick to enjoy strolling through Paris, head for Galerie Vivienne. Gone are the top hats and long sweeping skirts, but the spirit of a time gone by lingers in a hushed atmosphere of surprises. Visitors to the Galerie don’t take selfies; they sit for portraits. Prices of boutique items are daunting, but just looking is like visiting a museum. As for the tea, sit back, relax, and splurge. After all, you are in Paris!
For more of my travel adventures and misadventures and interesting finds along the way, please subscribe to my column.