Parisian pathways are ideal for those of you who like to loaf around in the city’s small streets and low-key alleys. Some of them are covered, but you can also stumble upon open-air ones, like the passage du Chantier (Chantier pathway), lodged between Faubourg Saint-Antoine street and Charonne street, in the 12th arrondissement.
Although, entering from Charonne street, you’ll have to walk under a glass ceiling, the rest of the pathway is open-air: the perfect spot for a nostalgic summer walk on the signature cobblestones of the Paris of old. Named after the wood-burning site which stood there, it opened in 1842.
Today, many craftsmen and woodcraft artisans still have their workshops there. This is the case of Paul’s atelier, which specializes in the sale of old furniture, like huge Louis XVI style banquettes. Although that might not be for everyone’s tastes, you should definitely have a quick look inside the shops while passing-by. You can also find more modern furniture, like at Xavie’z, showcasing new-fangled kitchens and design interiors.
Ever since the 17th century, this has been the cabinetmakers’ realm. In 1700, the Faubourg Saint-Antoine was home to over 500 carpenters and 400 cabinetmakers, from the humblest nobodies to world-famous craftsmen. Marie-Antoinette herself was a regular customer and came here to buy furniture at Adam Weisweiler’s workshop.
Old forged-steel signs still decorate the shops’ front windows. To immerse yourself in the alley’s mysterious past, head to the n°10. The building used to shelter a clandestine weapons factory during the 1848 revolution: instead of balconies and railings, bullets, powder and cartridges were coming of the boutique. Filled with history and bucolic shops, this hidden pathway gives us an incredible sense of the Paris of old and is the perfect setting to let your imagination run wild…
Image à la Une : © Laurent Jeannot