Literary Paris, Paris
In the thick of the Latin Quarter in an unassuming street one will find Ernest Hemingway's former apartment that he occupied in 1922. In those days the apartment had no private toilet nor hot water. Hopefully it's improved alot since then.
Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas' home in Paris
5 rue Christine, Paris 75006
Just down the street from the lovely 4-star Hôtel le Relais Christine, is the site of the Gertrude Stein's & Alice B. Toklas' 2nd home in Paris to which they moved in 1938.
Gertrude had started a huge art collection with her brother, Leo, and it would later become a priceless art collection (filled with Picassos & other post-impressionist works). Hemingway mentioned in A Moveable Feast that going to Miss Stein's apartment was like going to a museum with her wonderful works of art displayed on her walls. He also liked to sample her collection of eaux-de-vie there, too!
When they moved here they brought 130 painting with them. If you're seeking the site of her famous literary salons you'll find it at 27 rue du Fleurus.
Samuel Beckett's Quarters
45 rue d'Ulm
École Normale Supérieure
At this site of the École Normale Supérieure is where the famous Irish playwright/author of Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett, lived as he served as James Joyce's personal (albeit unpaid) gofer/secretary during the Ulysses years & while he taught at the École.
Tragically, Joyce's cherished daughter, Lucia fell into an unrequited love for Beckett and went mad because of it.
Nearby is the Chapelle Val-du-Grâce and the residences of Man Ray & Thornton Wilder.
Thornton Wilder's Abode
269 rue St-Jacques
A Pulitzer-prize-winning novelist, Thornton Wilder moved here in June 1921 after his brief stint at the Hôtel du Maroc. This is where he wrote most of The Bridge at San Luis Rey, published shortly after his return to NYC January 1927.
You can read more about Thornton Wilder in Expatriate Paris: A Cultural & Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920's by Arlen J. Hansen.
This building is just around the corner from Man Ray's studio at 8 rue du Val-de-Grâce.
If you require sustenance you might find Closerie des Lilas at 171 bd Montparnasse to be a pleasant place to sustain yourself. Closerie des Lilas was one of Hemingway's favorite "writing" cafés and also was home to the "Modernism Congress" February 17, 1922, where the dadaist manifesto was proclaimed by folk such as Tristan Tzara, André Breton & Erik Satie.
This bookstore is near the church of Notre Dame de Paris. You can find many interesting books there. However, the main secret of this place is the possibility for prospective writers. The owner of this bookstore gives shelter to people free. The main condition is starting write person’s biography and later story or poem. 4-6 people are living in this bookstore constantly.
Hôtel du Quai Voltaire
19 Quai Voltaire
At this address on the quai Voltaire of the Seine, steps from the Musée d'Orsay, is where that Irish wag, playwright & epigrammist, Oscar Wilde (and a bunch of other notables) once lived but not where he died.
It is here that he quipped that he was dying beyond his means so they moved him to a more affordable hotel, the present-day L'Hotel (which is much nicer now than in the days where he had a duel to the death with the ugly wallpaper). He also claimed the proprietor at the Hôtel du Quai Voltaire charged him for the view of Nôtre Dame of which he had no use! You'll find Oscar Wilde's grave at Cimetiere Père-Lachaise.
Charles Baudelaire, French writer, and Richard Wagner, German operatic composer, also stayed here.
For a great review of this hotel, please visit Callavetta's Paris Hotel Page.
Photo: April 2003
The Place des Vosges housed lots of aristocrats in the old days. However, one of the residents was not an aristocrat but a world-famous author. At #6 Place des Vosges is the home of Victor Hugo, the beloved author of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'.
It is a wonderful experience to actually enter and visit his home. What's even better is that there is no entrance fee charged!
The house has several storeys and alot of Hugo's mementos are displayed on the top floor. You will see some of his furniture and the furniture of his mistress, Juliette Drouet. In addition, in showcases, you can see lots of Hugo's illustrations and letters. Also moving are some portraits of himself and of his family.
Corner of Gît-le-Cœer & St-André-des-Arts
If you are a fan of the poet, e.e. cummings, you'll be delighted to know this is where the infamous "pisseur incident" in Paris occurred.
Apparently, one late night July 1923, e.e. cummings, John Dos Passos and Gilbert Seldes were walking to a "Calvados joint on rue Gît-le-Cœer and Saint-Andrés-des-Arts" when e.e. decided to relieve himself on a wall (see picture) and he was duly arrested by "a whole phalanx of gendarmes".
"Meanwhile, knowing that Cummings was to be released, Seldes and Dos Passos had spent the morning secretly rounding up friends and preparing posters and placards...marching loudly toward the police station in mock protest carrying signs that read 'Reprieve Le Pisseur Américain'...Cummings was profoundly moved by what he took to be a sincere display of loyal support and friendship."
~from Arlen J. Hansen's inimitable Expatriate Paris: A Cultural and Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920s
Photo: April 2003