If you’ve made more than one trip to Paris you’ve probably seen some of the famous Passages, the 19th-century indoor shopping centers under glass, which connect one street to another. They were important when they were built because they provided shelter from the rain as well as the mud and mess of pre-pavement Paris.
The City of Paris web site — paris.fr — has an English-language section that features a recent article on the Passages. Go to http://j.mp/X1NdNs for the overview, and from there you can download (PDF) the city’s brochure on the passages.
As an aside, Passage Jouffroy, home to the wax museum, the Hôtel Chopin, a really outstanding teashop and a bunch of antique-book stores, features prominently in the early portion of my novel Treasure of Saint-Lazare. (Amazon: http://j.mp/UKIVVi).
Hotel Chôpin, where my characters escaped from the pursuing Germans
Le Valentin, tea-room extraordinaire, just down the passage from the Hôtel Chopin. There’s a dining room upstairs, as well