|Place de Victoires|
Its funny how we get so comfortable in our usual routes and habits that it becomes a bit of a challenge to go outside our comfort zones. However stepping out of the usual routine often yields great rewards. We took a little walk near the Opera area and we did a bit of exploring in the Gallerie Vivienne.
This Gallerie is but one of the many covered passages in Paris that used to be thriving commercial centers with lots of shops and restaurants. They can be found all over the city and while the number of shops and passersby have declined a bit in recent years, they've retained a certain charm. Its funny to duck into one of the arches and find yourself inside a shady and cool area where one can see traces of the old Paris.
Gallerie Vivienne opened its doors in 1826 and was an immediate success. It has beautifully decorated arches that let in lots of natural light. While we were walking we noticed a number of tourists so I suppose that it's having some sort of resurgence.
But my favorite part was this old bookstore all the way at the far end of the Gallerie. Stacks and stacks of beautiful old books with their yellowing pages and still erect spines.
They even sold vintage postcards. Their only concession to modern shoplife is the stack of cheap paperback novels in front of their store.
My find from this wonderful bookstore wasn't so ancient (as far as book lives go..) but I just had to have it. I can never resist old fairy tale books especially when they are illustrated!
Just look at the illustrations... aren't they beautiful?
I'm been reading them slowly, one at a time, the better to fully savor a tale that begins so memorably with "Once upon a time..."