Thursday, October 20, 2005

le Passagxxe des 2 Pavillonxxs

I'm starting out with a very little-known passage, just off rue des Petits Champs and near the Palais Royale. It illustrates the evolution of a passage from a little street that is gated and can therefore be closed off at night, is still uncovered like any normal street, to the famous passages roofed with glass which are the precursors of the shopping mall. Luchet said of the two types of passages: "L'une est le perfectionnement de l'autre," although the perfectibility of man has to get called into question at some point, because most of us would find the shopping mall anti-progress after having visited a passage. They are beautiful and often surprising little hidden shortcuts in the city -- part of a secret Paris, one which disappears at night.

Here are two views from inside
the passage des Pavillons, one
taken looking forwards (left) and
the other looking back towards
the exit.

Les six commandements
(de Luchet)
for what constitutes a passage:
--pedestrian only
--linking two animated streets,
offering a shortcut to whoever uses it
--being lined with stores
--having a covering which protects walkers from the elements while at the same time allowing light to pass through
--light by artificial means: first gas, then electricity

although now, I would say distinctly some old-fashionedness, not just luxe. This is the window of a cobbler who was not very happy about me taking his shop window's picture.

And out we go, back to the Palais Royale.

P.S. all material copyright 2005


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