MyGayParis: the rites of the parisian passages (breezeways)-Part 1

The starting point of this article could be to speak about the current exhibition held at the Museum of Jewish art and history, right in the Marais (71 rue du Temple), until the 4th of February. The Marais still is a Jewish area, but now only in its in eastern part (East of Rue Vieille-du-Temple), whereas the western part is, of course, the center of gay Paris. That said, you might not still see what has this exhibition to do with the parisian passages.

This exhibition is about the 20th century German thinker Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), who wrote about photography as a medium, but also about Paris, and its passages. Benjamin was fascinated by Paris in the 19th century, which he believed was then the capital of the world, and as he called it, a “mirror-city” and he thought that the passages which then were built all around Paris were an ultimate kind of architecture.

You will be able to see all his archives, things that he kept, wrote about, and his photographs. Go upstairs and there will be a list of all the places he liked in Paris, went to, along with a map.

That could lead you to go and see the passages which are still existing. Most of them are located in the 2nd arrondissement, right next to the Marais, and the 10th, a little more north. Here are a few :

-    Passage du Grand Cerf.

This is one of our favourites. The ceiling, full of stained glass, is just beautiful, as well as the floor made of marble. A lot of fashion designers, such as MbM (Men by Men), which does awesome pieces of clothing, and art shops are all around. Go on Boulevard de Sébastopol, at the intersection with rue de Turbigo, and looking north, you will see the entrance of the passage on the left, with feminine statues on each side of the entrance.

-    Passage Brady.

If you like Indian and Pakistanese food, this is a must. It is between the metro stations of Strasbourg-Saint-Denis and Château d’Eau. Pick any restaurant and don’t forget to pay a visit to the small indian supermarket, which sells products shipped straight from India, such as food, spices, and also shampoos and beauty products.

-    Passage Vivienne, near Place des Victoires on rue Croix-des-Petits Champs.

This is more about high class art galleries. It is right next to the clubs of l’Insolite and Club 18 which we previously talked about. It is very impressive and inspiring.

There are many more in this whole area. Just walk in one of those and it will lead you to another one. It is just like a parallel city, full of the spirits of the past.

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