Passage Choiseul  

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"I have to admit that the Passage was an unbelievable pesthole. It was made to kill you off, slowly but surely, what with the little mongrels' urine, the shit, the sputum, the leaky gas pipes. The stink was worse than the inside of a prison." --Death on Credit (1936) by Louis-Ferdinand Céline tr. Ralph Manheim

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Passage Choiseul is one of the covered passages of Paris, France located in the 2nd arrondissement. It is the continuation of Rue de Choiseul. "Louis-Ferdinand Céline immortalized it in all its decrepitude in 1936, in Death on Credit where it was named « passage des Bérésinas ».


The Passage Choiseul is on a site previously occupied by four hôtels particuliers, acquired by the Mallet Bank for a real-estate development that included the Opéra-Comique's nearby Salle Ventadour. The passage was built between 1826 and 1827, first to the designs of the architect François Mazois, then Antoine Tavernier. Mazois died before the building was complete, and Tavernier completed the work.

The author Louis-Ferdinand Céline lived here as a child in the early 20th century. The Passage Choiseul is mentioned in two of his novels: Journey to the End of the Night and Death on the Installment Plan. Céline described it as having gas lamps that "stank as badly as the stagnant air", and the aroma of "dogs urine" in the passage.

In 1907 the glass roof was replaced (although its ironwork dates from 1891. The passage later fell into disrepair. In the 1970s visitation increased when Kenzo opened a boutique in the passage. They have since relocated to the Place des Victoires.


Passage Choiseul is a shopping and food area. It has restaurants, clothing stores, book stores, jewellery shops, art galleries, art supply shops and a hair stylist. The entrance to the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens is located in the passage. The ground floor is mainly retail and the upper floors are primarily residential. It is the longest covered passage in the city, at 190 meters long and 3.7 meters wide. In 2012, renovations and restoration were begun under Jean Frédéric Grevet. It is a registered historic monument in France.


It is just west of Galerie Vivienne on Rue des Petits-Champs in the 2nd arrondissement.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Passage Choiseul" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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