December 2009 Archives

Passage Brady

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passage-brady-paris.jpg

The Parisian passages, or galleries, are in many ways the precursors of today's shopping malls. Housing numerous shops inside a roof-covered lane or passageway, they rightly prompted the German philosopher Walter Benjamin to write a body of essays about them, in which he cited tham as the prime example for the transformation of the world's cities into urban spaces in the 19th century.

Of the numerous Parisian passages that have survived to the present day (many of them restored to their former glory), perhaps the quirkiest is the Passage Brady in the 10th arrondissement (district) of Paris, linking the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis with the boulevard de Strasbourg. Opened in 1828 and originally the home of numerous tailor shops, it underwent several changes in this slightly less than affluent area of Paris, never being truly "chic". The one that probably had the greatest impact occurred from 1973 onwards, when numerous immigrants from India and Pakistan opened shops here.

psbrady1.jpgFor the past decades, the passage has been host to countless Indian restaurants, food shops and barbers. It is a veritable enclave of the Indian subcontinent close to the heart of Paris, and a fairly inexpensive area to get a good Indian meal.

Indeed, restaurants as the Pooja and the Jardin des Indes are rightly recommended as being among the better Indian restaurants in Paris.

Further reading: Jean-Claude Delorme, Passages couverts parisiens. Paris: Parigramme, 2002. Available from Amazon.fr.