© Fabulorum. José Medio

In the hierarchy of covered passages, Passage Verdeau is short and discreet. With a length of only 75 meters, its neoclassical entrance faces the exit of Passage Jouffroy and terminates at the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre. Yet it exudes more Parisian essence than the longer galleries attracting tourists and packing lunchtime crowds in their uninspiring pizzerias and coffee places.

Its proximity to Hôtel Drouot, the leading auction house in Paris, has made it the refuge of book antiquarians, art galleries and secondhand book sellers. The hushed foot traffic lends a cultivated atmosphere and a subdued aura to this space as if one had stepped in a members only posh club.  This is a handpicked destination. The photographer William Curtis Rolf, specializing in fine art prints has his studio there. And this is where I gleefully discovered worn editions of out of print novels and essays by Paul Morand or André Maurois, two of my favorite mid-century French writers. I always conclude my intellectual forays with a sustaining repast in that hidden culinary gem, I Golosi. Marco Tonazzo dazzles you with new renditions of Italian classics no matter how often your attraction draws you there. If your idea of a good meal is, say, a dish of roasted and confit partridge with spicy cabbage washed down with an opulent Barolo you have found your destination.

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