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January 26, 2012

5

Galerie Véro-Dodat – A Speculative Venture

by soundlandscapes

THE GALERIE VERO-DODAT is another of the surviving passages couverts in Paris. It’s also another example of Restoration property speculation in the nineteenth-century.

During the post-revolutionary Restoration period speculation was rife in Paris and some people became very rich indeed. One example is Benoit Véro, a butcher, who by 1840 had turned 4,000 Francs inherited from his wife’s parents into a fortune of some 850,000 Francs.

In 1818, Véro had a shop at the corner of the Rue Montinesque in the 1st arrondissement. The following year he bought the small hôtel Quatremère in the Rue Bouloi opposite his shop. This was the genesis of the Galerie Véro-Dodat.

Sounds of the Galerie Véro-Dodat:

Véro teamed up with his neighbour, the financier Dodat and together they bought another parcel of real estate in the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  In 1822, Véro and Dodat began connecting the two properties with a passage effectively providing a shortcut from the commercial district of Les Halles to the elegant Palais Royal. Into this space they created the nineteenth-century shopping mall, the Galerie Véro-Dodat, which eventually opened in 1826.

The venture was a success.  Véro and Dodat had proved that location is everything. The entrance in the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau just happened to be the terminus of the mail coaches, Messageries Laffitte et Gaillard.

The passengers waiting for, or alighting from, the coaches provided eager customers ready to sample the magasins à la mode. By 1837, Véro and Dodat held two hundred shares in the Galerie Véro-Dodat with each share valued at ten thousand Francs!

Like the other passage couverts in Paris, the early flush of popularity eventually passed.  For the Galerie Véro-Dodat the decline began during the Second Empire with the demise of the Messageries Laffitte et Gaillard. It wasn’t until 1997 that the Galerie was restored to its former nineteenth-century neo-classical glory complete with its elegant shops specialising in antiques, objets d’art, art books and fashion accessories.

Galerie Véro-Dodat:

19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and

2 rue du Bouloi

75001 Paris

Metro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre

You can see more of Les Passages Couverts here:

Passage des Princes :

Passage du Grand-Cerf:

Passage Brady:

Passage Verdeau:

Passage Jouffroy:

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 26 2012

    Definitely one of my favourite galleries. Did you have a guided tour?

    I remember it pre-1997, and it was much the same but just a lot dirtier! I don’t think the shops have changed at all since then, but it’s true that they now have surroundings worthy of the goods they are selling!

    Reply
    • Jan 26 2012

      Thanks Adam. No, I didn’t have a guided tour but there were two separate tour groups in the gallery and one of them you can hear in the recording. These tour groups seem to have become a feature of this gallery. I think it’s good that so many people take an interest in this and the other passage couverts in Paris.

      Reply
  2. Jan 28 2012

    Interesting post in that it is almost about listening to other people listening. We hear the guide who is first listened to directly by the tour group, who is overheard and recorded by you and then finally brought to us. It has been said that we can look at people seeing but we can’t hear people listening, but maybe it’s not so true.

    Reply
    • Jan 28 2012

      Thanks Jay, the tour groups appeared unexpectedly and so they became part of the soundscape of the gallery. I have other recordings of this place that are remarkably quiet which I suppose begs the question, what is the ‘real’ soundscape of the Galerie Véro-Dodat?

      Reply

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