Among the most attractive of the Opéra’s passages is the Galerie Vivienne, between rue Vivienne and rue des Petits-Champs, its decor of Grecian and marine motifs providing a suitably flamboyant backdrop for its smart shops, including a branch of Jean-Paul Gaultier. But the most stylish examples are the three-storey passage du Grand-Cerf, between rue St-Denis and rue Dussoubs, and Galerie Véro-Dodat, between rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs and rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, named after the two pork butchers who set it up in 1824. This last is the most homogeneous and aristocratic passage, with painted ceilings and faux marble columns. North of rue St-Marc, the several arcades making up the passage des Panoramas are more workaday, although they do retain a great deal of character and an air of nostalgia about them: there’s an old restaurant (L’Arbre à Cannelle) with fantastic carved wood panelling, and a printshop with its original 1867 fittings, as well as bric-a-brac shops, and stamp and secondhand postcard dealers. Passage Jouffroy, across boulevard Montmartre, harbours a number of quirky shops, including one selling antique walking sticks and another stocking exquisite dolls’ house furniture.

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