IT ALWAYS SEEMS to me, that the Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé suffers a little from standing in the shadow of its larger cousin, the Passage du Grand-Cerf, which is just across the Rue Saint-Denis.
The Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé was built in 1828 by Auguste Lusson and it was designed to continue the line of the Passage du Grand-Cerf to the Rue Saint-Martin by linking up with the open-air Passage de l’Ancre. Thanks to Baron Haussmann’s transformation of Paris in the Second Empire, the Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé lost its eastern end to make way for the Boulevard Sébastopol in 1854.
Sounds inside the Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé:
It was in 1879 that Henri Blondel, architect of the Bourse du Commerce, the French Stock Exchange, tidied up the amputated eastern end of the passage by building the Empire style entrance (shown above) with its two caryatides sculpted by Aimé Millet.
The arched glass roof is impressive as are the clock and the barometer at either end of the passage.
The Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé has had a chequered history. Thanks to Baron Haussmann it’s not as long as originally intended whereas its cousin, the Passage du Grand-Cerf, is the largest of all the Parisian passage couverts. Over many years, the Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé became run down and, not all that long ago, it was ravaged by fire. But today, it’s been restored and although still smaller than it’s cousin across the street it is equally as elegant and home to thriving niche businesses.
Passage du Bourg-l’Abbé:
120, rue Saint-Denis / 3, rue Palestro