Passage des Panoramas, Galerie des Varietes. Paris, France.
Vertical panoramic view of one of the surviving passages in Paris.
The Passage des Panoramas is the oldest covered passage to reach present day. It is located in the 2nd arrondissement between the Montmartre boulevard to the North and Saint-Marc street to the south. It is one of the earliest venues of the Parisian philatelic trade, and it was one of the first covered commercial passageways in Europe.
The Gallery of the Varietes, which gives access to the entry of the artists of the Theatre de Varietes, was added in the 1830s, when architect Jean-Louis Victor Grisart renovated the passage and created additional galleries inside the block of houses.
Bazaars and souks in the Orient had roofed commercial passageways centuries earlier but the Passage de Panoramas innovated in having glazed roofing and, later on, in 1817, gas lights for illumination. It was an ancestor of the city gallerias of the 19th century and the covered suburban and city shopping malls of the 20th century.
The passage was opened in 1800. The doorway of the modern building, of the house, which opened on rue Saint-Marc, facing the rue des Panoramas, was the gateway of the original mansion. Its name came from an attraction built on the site; two large rotundas where panoramic paintings of Paris, Toulon, Rome, Jerusalem, and other famous cities were displayed. They were a business venture of the American inventor Robert Fulton, who had come to Paris to offer his latest inventions, the steamboat, submarine, and torpedo, to Napoleon and the French Directory. While waiting for an answer, Fulton earned money from his exhibition.
In 1800, Paris streets were narrow, dark, muddy and crowded, and very few had sidewalks or lighting. The first indoor gallery, at the Palais Royal, had opened in 1786, followed by the passage Feydau in 1790-91, the Passage du Caire in 1799, and the Passage des Panoramas in 1800. The rotundas were destroyed in 1831. In the 1830s, the architect Jean-Louis Victor Grisart renovated the passage and created three additional galleries inside the block of houses: the Saint-Marc gallery parallel with the passage, the gallery of the Variétés which gives access to the entry of the artists of the Théâtre de Variétés, and the Feydeau galleries and Montmartre. Stern the famous engraver settled there in 1834, then merchants of postcards and postage stamps, and some restaurants moved in. The part of the passage close to the Montmartre boulevard is richly decorated, while the distant part is more modest. The passage, as it was in 1867, is described in chapter VII of Émile Zola's novel Nana.
The covered passages were an early form of shopping arcade built in Paris, France during the first half of the 19th century. By the 1850s there were approximately 150 covered passages in Paris but many were lost during Haussmann's renovation of Paris. Only a score or so of passages remain, all on the Right Bank .
These covered passages always connected two streets, were all paved, covered with glass-ceilings, artificially illuminated at night (initially with gas lamps) and were privately owned. As they were devised for the high and upper-middle class to spend their time and money when the weather was foul and the streets were muddy, the passages held cafes, shops and restaurants, all highly ornamented and decorated.
Nowadays, a hidden treasure in Paris, antiques dealers and unique shops (old books, postcards, collectors' cameras, etc.) have set up in those passages, in perfect communion with the romantic decoration and lighting of these tiny holes in time.
As for Paris... what can one say about the City of Light that has not already been said...?
More views of Paris one copy-paste away in my Gallery at http://westonwestmoreland.com/collections/paris
June 1st, 2021
Viewed 42 Times - Last Visitor from New York, NY on 08/14/2023 at 6:08 AM