Tuesday 27 November 2012

Passage painting in progress

I love the passages couverts in Paris - all sharing the same concept of an arcade of shops with a glass roof, but each with its own character. While some have retained or recovered their high-class atmosphere, others are shabbier - and often livelier for it. The most elegant passages can feel as if they have been preserved in (very appealing) aspic, but there's no such sensation in the Passage du Caire, full of fashion wholesalers, or the Passage Brady, known for its Indian restaurants and shops. 

The current colour scheme
The Passage du Prado has been the poor relation even among these more timeworn arcades. Although one of the most venerable passages in the city, it was only roofed with glass in 1925. As a result, it has some good Art Deco features, although they are easily missed among the nail salons and snack bars. However, partly in response to concerns that this arcade had become a dangerous and crime-ridden place, it is currently undergoing renovations: the floor is being replaced and at ceiling level, there is some rather colourful repainting going on. I very much doubt these are historically accurate shades, but they do a wonderful job of drawing they eye to some of the details which make Paris's passages so special. 

The repainting

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