While the Passage Pommeraye isn’t really a secret spot, I can’t resist telling you about this covered shopping arcade that, as well as being one of Nantes’ most beautiful sites, is also one of the most beautiful covered passageways in Europe.
Whether you’re looking for an iconic piece of Nantes’ heritage or a sheltered place for shopping in Nantes on rainy days, you’ll definitely be delighted with your visit to the Passage Pommeraye.
The charm of Nantes’ covered shopping arcade
Drawing inspiration from the Parisian style and opened in 1843, the Passage Pommeraye stands out thanks to its three levels of stunning architecture and majestic central staircase that links Rue Santeuil and Rue de la Fosse, despite the 9.4-metre drop.
This 19th-century shopping mall is home to no fewer than 26 businesses and homes in an idyllic setting that’s incredibly photogenic, especially since being totally renovated in 2015.
In the Passage Pommeraye, the shops’ red signs stand out against the white tuffeau stone, while the statues of adolescents and gilding lend the arcade a luxurious charm and the wrought iron and wooden touches enhance the gorgeous views that can be found there. I’m a particular fan of the light. The roof is made entirely from glass and there are mirrors everywhere, giving it a really cosy atmosphere.
A few of my tips for getting the most out of your visit to the Passage Pommeraye
If you’re starting to get a feel for how charming and interesting this arcade is, you won’t be surprised to hear that it draws huge crowds, particularly on rainy days. My top tip would be, if you’re not particularly interested in shopping, to visit on a Sunday, because although the shops are closed, the arcade itself is open. You’ll have the arcade almost to yourself, letting you enjoy it in a different, much more tranquil, way, taking in every little architectural detail.
As for the shops, there’s a bit of everything- from an optician to a shirt shop, as well as a chocolatier, a perfumery, a few high street shops, a tea room and more. It’s hard to recommend just one shop, but it’s an excellent place to stock up on presents, particularly if you’re passing through Nantes during the festive season. The Christmas decorations make the arcade even more magical.
It’s hard to believe that the site where the Passage Pommeraye stands today was originally a slum!