Passage des Panoramas

Passage des Panoramas (67B)

You will find this covered passage at number 11 Boulevard Montmartre.

The Passage des Panoramas was built in 1800 after the Hotel de Montmorency had been demolished, so it is the oldest in Paris. Its name comes from the fact that the American William Thayer placed two bowers in Boulevard Montmartre that contain panoramas that showed images of famous battles and views of other cities.

A panorama is a panoramic landscape made over a curved surface, such as a cylinder, in which the spectator sits in the middle so as to feel as if they are in the centre of the scene. In some way, the panoramas were the seed of what today could be the projections on spherical screens of the Imax cinemas.

The Passage des Panoramas is also world famous because it was the first gallery to be gas-lit in 1817. Although it seems a bit boring at the ends, the inside of this gallery is much livelier and its 133 metres’ length and more than 200 years’ history contain more than a few anecdotes. For example, from 1868 the Julian Academy was here, a painting studio that was attended by artists such as Duchamp or Matisse.

Walk around at your leisure and try and guess how the Parisians’ taste has changed through these veritable time tunnels. If you fancy a snack, have a coffee and a piece of cake in the restaurant at number 57, which years ago belonged to a famed chocolate artisan.

In 1834, this gallery was enlarged with 4 more passages: Feydeau, Montmartre, Saint-Marc and Variétés. Of these, we recommend a supper in the Passage des Variétés because you will see entering and leaving the artists from the Variétés Theatre via the back door. A real live show.

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