Between Palais-Royal and Gare de l’Est, there are about 20 covered passages that testify to a certain era of Parisian history, when upper classes looked for elegant “streets” to walk, to shop and at the same time to be sheltered from bad weather and muddy streets without sidewalks. Mostly built in the early 19th century, these arcades were the ancestors of our modern shopping centres.
Passage Brady is one of these, and probably the most exotic (while Passage Jouffroy is more classic and elegant). Connecting Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis (the heart of Kurdish and Turkish district) to Boulevard de Strasbourg and its theatres and African hairdressers, it is mostly occupied by cheap Indian and Pakistani restaurants, the firsts of which were founded in the 1970s by immigrants from Pondicherry, a former French territory in India.
Fragrances of spices and incense escape from exotic food stores and make this lively and colourful place very attractive to visitors, especially on weekdays (on Sundays, only restaurants are open and the rest of the area is less lively).
Going South on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, near the arch (Porte Saint-Denis), you will find another example of such passages. Passage du Prado, an L shape, recently repainted its arches and is now more attractive if you need cheap clothes, to rent Bollywood DVDs, a cheap haircut or if you want to mix with the local crowd and try Mauritian cuisine in one of the numerous fast-food outlets of the passage.