The hidden villages of Paris

Paris has these tiny villages-within-the-city called villages, small tangles of quiet cobbled alleyways (passages) and whitewashed buildings lined by shops and artist ateliers.

You have to know where to look for them, as they are quite hidden, typically entered from one or two unremarkable doorways or passages located midway down the surrounding city blocks.

Two of the best, central ones are the Village Saint-Paul in the Marais ( and the Cour Damoye at no. 12 place de la Bastille (on the northeast edge, between bd Richard Lenoir and rue de la Roquette;

Photos and brief descriptions in French of several (mostly residential ones) are gathered at the Paris Secret blog.

Not quite qualifying as a village (but cool in similar ways) is the 1826, skylight-enclosed Galerie Vivienne in the 2eme, a small, high-end mall lined with swish shops and entered at 6 rue de Vivienne or 5 rue de Banc (

You can even tour the Paris villages by bike.