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
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