Behind the grand cobalt-blue coach doors of 52 rue de l’Arbre-Sec, the old Hôtel de Trudon (in the eighteenth century it belonged to the family of Cire Trudon 1643 candle fame, once the King’s official wax providers), you’ll find another portal into old-world Paris.

La Galcante

Nestled into the back corner of the calm cobbled courtyard is La Galcante — part gallery, part brocante (French for second-hand shop). You can’t miss it —your nose lured by a uniquely musty, musky scent trail. It’s the aroma of centuries’ worth of ink-infused paper, well-thumbed glossy magazines and crumbling, yellowing prints.

Creak through the arched doorway and you’ll swear you’re stepping into a Woody Allen movie. The soft golden light shimmers with dust particles, and zippy notes of jazz dance in the air. The effect is hypnotic. Prepare to spend a good hour here, tumbling into this rabbit’s hole of paper paraphernalia, some of which dates back to pre-Revolutionary times.

Flip through 1950s Vogues, locate the Le Monde of your birth date, and flit from one subject to another; whether you want to research Brigitte Bardot or Latin America, there’s a file box of preciously saved information waiting for you. The past right at your dusty fingertips.

Scroll down for a virtual trip along La Galcante’s memory lane …