Opened in 1845, Le Passage du Havre is one of Paris’s few surviving ‘covered passages’. Once famous for its model train shops, the historic shopping arcade underwent extensive renovations in the ’90s and again in 2012. The most recent overhaul saw the addition of interior planted gardens, skylights and terraces. Unlike many Parisian boutiques and supermarkets, the Passage will be soon open for shopping and browsing every Sunday.
The lush space currently houses over forty shops on two floors – clothing boutiques, jewellers, perfumeries, multimedia stores, restaurants and more – although the Passage is much more than just a shopping mall. It just announced its latest initiative, ‘Les Impromptus’, an extensive summer programme of concerts planned in its new gardens from June 10 2016. Visitors can stop by on Friday evenings (5pm-7pm) to take in a free concert with a special European theme (in the run up to Euro 2016, which takes place in France in summer 2016). All this, in addition to the already wide range of events, workshops and low-price sales held throughout the year in conjunction with the various on-site shops. Here, visitors are also able to enjoy one-off food tastings and beauty workshops, while the Passage’s Facebook page runs regular competitions in which punters can win gift cards to spend on site.
With pristine, light-flooded arcades and climbing vines, Le Passage du Havre is certainly an elegant venue, but its relaxed approach – catering to shoppers’ comfort and leisure – sets it apart from some of the other shopping galleries which can seem unfriendly or in need of renovation. Come for the year-round sales, for the concerts and workshops or, simply, for a late afternoon coffee on the Passage’s leafy deck. If you’re staying in a hotel, check with the lobby to see if they can offer any vouchers for tourists to spend here – special ‘discount chequebooks’ have been distributed around the capital’s major hotels.
The Passage du Havre will be open every Sunday from March 13 2016. For more information, click here, or check out their Facebook and Instagram.