Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

Built in the early 19th Century Galerie Vivienne is one chicest passages in Paris. Through Hausmannization the transformation from passages to department store shifted the culture in Paris but because of the renovations and attempt to restore the value of the culture the Galerie is one of the best hidden spots of Paris.

The first covered shopping passages appeared in Paris near the end of the eighteenth century. At their peak, there was a network of more than 200 passages, many interconnected and ornately decorated (Muschamp, 2000). Parisian passages flourished until competition from large department stores, and the Haussmannization of Paris during the Belle Époque period, precipitated a decline in their popularity. However, these unique glass and steel structures captured the artistic imagination of writers, photographers, and painters as they epitomize the culture of 19th Century Paris. One of the most renowned passages is the Galerie Vivienne.
The newly covered passages created a space very new to Parisians. Gas lighting and heating were new additions. The ornately decorated, illuminated covered passages were the prototype for the grand department stores which would take over the streets following the Haussmannization of Paris. The passages were very different from the city, and offered a sheltered escape from the dirt and noise on the busy streets. They were used as a shortcut or escape from the overcrowded streets at the time (Street, 2012). Paris’s makeover allowed for passages to be lined with elegant shops, cafes and theaters. The passages invited Parisians to come and walk and observe the newly renovated spaces. When the passages were built, the streets of Paris were small and gross, so they attracted people into these covered passages as a way to escape. These people were known as the flaneurs. Flaneurs were given that title for their keen observations as they strolled through the passages and observed anything that caught their eye. This act of observing became an art of sort. It wasn’t about the purchasing of anything. It was only about the act of looking at the things around them. The reconstruction of Paris, known as Haussmannization, destroyed many of the passages with the widening of the boulevards and the creation of department stores. Fortunately, the Galerie Vivienne remained a renowned location due to the renovation and its unique chic- style.
The Galerie Vivienne built in 1823 is one of about 20 passages still prominent in Paris due to its renovations. With its glass domed ceiling, brass lamps, intricate Italian mosaic tile floors and ornate reliefs, the gallerie exudes elegance and attracted may flaneurs to observe, wander and, shop. The covered Galerie does not lack natural lighting. Structurally, the arcades’ iron frames support panels of glass that allow light into the interior space, much like a greenhouse, Several of the roof panels even open to allow fresh air to circulate. Iron beams are really the first construction material that makes the architecture of the 1820’s revolutionary. The passageway was especially radical at night because they were illuminated by the latest technology:gas lamps. The main aisle of the space is surmounted by a cupola shaped glass canopy. The lighting illuminates different parts of the unique space. The light from the archway accentuates the depth of the passage and creates shadows on the interior space. The natural sunlight streaming through the steel and glass roof illuminates the work and casts shadows which add dimension and vitality. The repetition of the arches creates a sense of verticality and prolonged extension. The lines of the metal grating in the foreground. The mosaic floor tiles add additional circular element to the curved arches that dominate the structure. The photographs of the Galerie Vivienne are usually taken in a straightforward manner, without using unusual angles or distortion to capture a documentary style. Many famous photographers photographed the Galerie, not only for its exquisite beauty but for documentation. The capturing of the images represents a pivotal moment in the history of the city as they show a shift in culture from the passages to the department stores.
The Galerie, popular to many, especially artists, has three separate entrances, some harder to find than others.The main entrance is at 4 Rue de Petits Champs. The passage attracts many people to wander observe and shop. As soon as you step through the small doors with unique door knockers, you are transported into its own mini-world outside the bustling city of Paris. The Galerie was built to bring people to one specific shopping area for all of their needs. Flaneur was the act of observing, and it became part of the art (Rollason, 4). It was a prominent cultural movement at the time, but after Haussmannization, the passages began to target people to shop as well as to observe because they had to compete with department stores and growing consumerism. The transformation started to shift. This marked the moment of transition of the vibrant culture of paris to the consumer world. To preserve this important culture of the city, Paris has made an effort to restore them (Woodward, 2007). The Galerie, home to many fashion boutiques and bookshops as well as wine vendors, has something for everyone. Some of the top attractions are the Legrand filles et fils which is thought to be one of the best wine shops in Paris. Jean-Paul Gaultier opened his first shop in 1986 in the Galerie and the flagship store remains (Beck, 2012). It is also home to galleries, stores and restaurants making it a destination for natives as well as tourists. Best of all, during Christmas time the Galerie gets a sparkling upgrade with decorations lining the entire passage.
While the creation of department stores in many ways has allowed the city of Paris to grow, there is something incredibly unique about wandering down the passages. Discovering hidden parts of the city is part of the charm. The Galerie Vivienne never disappoints to transport one back to 19th century Paris with vivid architectural design and aura. The transformation of the Galerie is seen through photography. The documentation from many famous photographers keep this historic landmark alive. As soon as one enters the Galerie, you are imminently brought back into 19th century Paris getting a look at what life back then would have been like. Allow yourself to wander and explore the unique hidden gem of Paris.

Images

Interior of the Galerie Vivienne

Interior of the Galerie Vivienne

This is an image of the interior of the Galerie Vivienne taken in 1905. The image shows the unique sky-lighting and repeated archways. | Source: Brown University Library. “Galerie Vivienne: Interior.” Wikimedia Commons, Brown University Library, 14 Feb. 2013, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Galerie_Vivienne_-_interior,_1905.jpg#file. View File Details Page

Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

The covered passages are not only lined with shops but also with beauty salons and restaurants. Here is a photo of people enjoying lunch in the Galerie Vivienne | Creator: Photo by Julia Schloss View File Details Page

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

The image is of the outside view of the Galerie Vivienne during the bourbon the restoration in 1820. | Source: Tangopaso. “The Galerie Vivienne during the Bourbon Restauration : 8 Rue Vivienne, Paris 2nd Arr.” Wikimedia Commons, 28 Sept. 2009, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Galerie_Vivienne_1820.jpg. View File Details Page

Passage way at Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

Passage way at Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

Art students lined the aisle ways to draw the beautiful archways of the Galerie Vivienne. The unique architecture allows for natural lighting to fill the space. | Creator: Photo by Julia Schloss View File Details Page

Baluster of 13 Vivienne Gallery

Baluster of 13 Vivienne Gallery

this photo taken by Eugene Atget in 1906 shows the unique detail and design in the iron work that make the galerie so special | Source: http://www.binocheetgiquello.com/html/fiche.jspzid=8047807&np=2&lng=fr&npp=20&ordre=&aff=1&r= View File Details Page

Entrace to the Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

Entrace to the Galerie Vivienne, May 2018

One of the three entrances to the Galerie Vivienne. Some of the metal work restored to keep the historical significance of the passage. | Creator: photo by Julia Schloss View File Details Page

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

This image taken by Eugene Atget in 1906 of the Galerie Vivienne show the effects of a slow shutter speed with the ghost like figure appearing. It also highlights the natural lighting and arch structure. | Source: Bibliotheque nationale de France, d©partement Estampes et photographie, BOITE FOL A-EO-109 (2) View File Details Page

Galerie Vivienne, April 2018

Galerie Vivienne, April 2018

The main passage way of the Galerie Vivienne showing the arch ways that help illuminate the space. Photo taken by Julia Schloss View File Details Page

Galerie Vivienne, April 2018

Galerie Vivienne, April 2018

Visitors looking into the famous bookshop located in the Galerie Vivienne. Photo taken by Julia Schloss View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Julia Schloss , “Galerie Vivienne

,” W&L Paris, accessed December 4, 2021, https://omeka.wlu.edu/wluparis/items/show/21.

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