When Rain Hits the 9th Arrondissement 

In springtime this city doesn’t just get warmer, it gets wetter. Beneath one of many March rainstorms I ended up in the 9th arrondissement, which I adore so.

There’s a lot to love in this area; you’ll find visuals that span the gamut from the quotidian to the grandiose. As I fought to keep my battered 10€ umbrella intact (I really need to tap into a higher price point of weather-related merchandise), I spotted some courtyards and a café along Rue de la Grange Batelière.

This path led me to a ceiling that Paris lovers know well, that of the Galeries Lafayette. The glass dome is from 1912, the same year the Titanic sank. It’s a random fact but I like putting things in context like that.

What a great example this building is of how shopping was elevated to an art form. The early department stores invented new concepts like putting price tags on merchandise, allowing women to touch and try before purchasing, and even catalogues being sent your home – oh the modernity!

They say some women would spend 12 hours a day in these spaces, and with a canopy like this who can blame them.

As if 1912 didn’t make this area elegant enough, across the street in the same year the headquarters of megabank Société Générale was inaugurated. It’s one of my favorite hidden spaces I’ve ever come across.

If you decide to enter this rather Harry Potter-esque interior at 29 Boulevard Haussmann, be aware of two things: that there’s a beautiful armored vault to see downstairs, and that photography is strictly forbidden in the building. How did I get this shot? A guide can’t give away all his secrets!

And because every flaneur needs his fuel, I made another stop in my continued quest to find the best burger in Paris. This day’s contender was an eatery called Moutarde Street at 23 Boulevard des Italiens.

Clearly the meal was up to my photographic standards, but would I brave another rainstorm for it? Let’s just say I may need to tap into a higher price point of burger-related merchandise…

But let’s cleanse the palette with a fun address you’ll want to check out when in the 9th arrondissement. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful Starbucks on God’s green earth, at 3 Boulevard des Capucines. Housed in a former aristocratic home from the 19th century, it’s the best way to pretend you didn’t just overpay for a syrup-laden, mass produced quasi-coffee beverage. Oops, I may make a few enemies with that comment (I actually do drink here from time to time).

I finished this walk with a place I often finish this walk with. I’ll never get tired of gawking at the Opéra Garnier, and if I ever do take it for granted that’ll be a sad day indeed.

The building and square that surrounds it were thoroughly imbibed with the day’s precipitation, and I didn’t just love the moodiness of the light but also that so few people were outside. That alone is a rare enough experience to warrant a mini photo shoot.

I’ll finish with a fun screenshot of my camera roll that proves not only are bloggers serious creatures, but that we’re a bit obsessive too.

Sometimes the hardest thing about a blog post is choosing the damn photos. But again, the day I complain about that would be a sad day indeed. :-)

To request a guided tour of my favorite details around Paris, click here


  • WONDERFUL; you ARE forgiven to have a so-called ‘coffee’ for those photos alone – I shall make it my duty to do the same at a next visit BUT I will NOT ever drink anything with their name on it… all the same!
    Love what your eyes see – so totally agree with all you write and photograph – Thank you tons for your blog (newly discovered a few days ago).

  • That Starbucks ceiling is a wonder! Kind of sad that nobody else has the bargaining power to use that space for something more unique, but at least it’s not closed to the public. I enjoyed the shots of the Galeries Lafayette dome. Made me feel like a deep sea diver with a huge kaleidoscopic man o’war floating overhead.

    • A great way to put it Ellen! I know what you mean about Starbucks. The only establishments that can afford the astronomical rents are the ones with the least amount of soul.

  • Your photos are lovely and evocative, as always. We will be in Paris in May – can’t wait. Will definitely check out the Societe Generale Headquarters, which I was not aware of. And of course, return to Galeries Lafayette and Opera Garnier – I’ve never seen it as un-crowded as in your shots. I don’t believe you mentioned what street that Starbucks is on? I don’t appreciate their coffee (and prices!) but might be worth a cup in order to see that building!

    • Hello Wanda, the Starbucks is at 3 Boulevard des Capucines. You’re not the only one to ask me for the address so I’ve gone back and included it in the article for future readers. :-) Congrats on your upcoming Paris trip and if you’re ever looking for a tour guide you know where to find me!

  • Lovely photos Corey. Glad to see that small salad alongside that burger…At least in France portions are smaller than in the engorged USA.

    Rain days are calming and the light makes for splendid images. Thanks, Diane

  • I do not understand the antipathy to Starbucks when they hire so many of the handicapped and veterans, and have a good education program for employees. I go there just for those reasons alone – plus the friendliness of the baristas. There is such a variety of coffee shops and I enjoy all of them rather than exclude some without research.

  • Wonderful pix of the Opera. I always visit La Samaritaine when I am in Paris to admire their art deco balconies and the splendid view from their roof – obviously I need to give Galeries Lafayette some equal time!

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