Literary Paris, Paris

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  • 45 quai de la Tournelle. 75005 Paris
    45 quai de la Tournelle. 75005 Paris
    by pfsmalo
  • 1. Place de la Contrescarpe
    1. Place de la Contrescarpe
    by Nemorino
  • 2. Place de la Contrescarpe
    2. Place de la Contrescarpe
    by Nemorino
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    Literary Pursuits in St-Germain-des-Prés

    by BeatChick Updated May 2, 2008

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    Gregory Corso & Allen Ginsberg
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    Beat Hotel
    9 rue Git-le-Cœur, Paris 75006
    Métro: St-Michel

    Formerly known as the Hôtel Rachou, now known as the Hôtel de Vieux Paris, Beat writers/poets Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs & Gregory Corso stayed here during the 1950s when it was a mere flophouse above a bar. Jack Kerouac, father of the Beats, never stayed here but he did visit; he stayed around the corner at 28, rue St-Andre-des-Arts.

    How ironic that the hotel is now, at the very least, a 207€/night room (for a mere deluxe, mind you) with a 13€ breakfast. Oh my!

    Here I took photos of the various Beats' pictures hanging on the wall and also of the drawings & photos inside the hotel register; but, alas, there were none of Kerouac. The last known Beat entry was of Corso's in the early '90s shortly before he died. Note the poem in the photo he wrote for the hotel:

    Alchemy

    a blue bird

    alights upon

    a yellow chair

    -Spring is here!

    Madame will be most happy to show you various Beat items.

    Photos: April 2003

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    I Am Dying beyond my Means - Oscar Wilde

    by BeatChick Updated Dec 11, 2004

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    Oscar Wilde abode - 19 quai Voltaire

    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

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    Galignani ~ Art Lovers Bookstore

    by Lady_Mystique Updated Apr 23, 2006

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    The Sign

    A 200-year-old 'landmark' !
    Once a publisher of the first English-language newspaper in Paris as well as a book publisher, and a reading room until the end of the 19th century, and still in the hands of the Galignani family.

    This bookshop has been at the same address since 1845.
    It is now specialized in—and celebrated for—international ART books; you can find all the best books about the arts and fashion, but you may also find artists and fashion designers browsing too.

    224, rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st

    Phone: 33(0)1 42 60 76 07

    Metro: Tuileries

    Open 10:00 to 19:00
    Closed: Sundays

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    Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas

    by BeatChick Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    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.

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    Thornton Wilder in the 5th

    by BeatChick Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    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.

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    Samuel Beckett's Quarters

    by BeatChick Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    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.

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    Pursuing Patricia Wells

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 21, 2006

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    Patricia Wells' mailbox
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    Patricia Wells' apartment
    10 rue Jacob, Paris 75006

    Patricia Wells is the author of the definitive foodie texts Food Lover's Guide to Paris and Food Lover's Guide to France as well as being an internationally-known American critic of French cuisine for the Herald-Tribune. Apparently, she is the only American food critic to whom the French will pay attention. I dub her the hallowed gastronomic grande dame.

    For several weeks throughout the year she hosts weeklong cooking classes in this home. As they are every OTHER week somehow I manage to miss it each year. Classes are now being offered for 2006 which must mean that all 2005 classes are filled. :(

    During my visit April 2003, Madame next door pushed the door code buttons for me and I was able to see, but not gain entry to, the courtyard but I took a picture of Patricia's mailbox. How creepy, you say!

    I had the great pleasure of meeting Mrs. Wells last June when she was promoting her newest foodie tome The Provence Cookbook. I explained to her that I tracked down her Paris abode and took photos of her mailbox. She responded with a "how charming!"

    She states that she still refuses to step foot in Bofinger due to their lacksadaisical service and opines that Starbucks burns their beans which produces that bitter taste in their espresso which is unknown in France.

    And I'm sure she's changed the door code by now! ;) But you can e-mail me for that anyway!!

    Just steps from the site of Natalie Barney's apartment and not too far from the historic H?tel d'Angleterre.

    Photos: April 2003

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    Thornton Wilder's home

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    Thornton Wilder - 57 rue de Seine
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    57 rue de Seine
    (on the corner of rue Jacob)

    At this corner once stood the Hôtel du Maroc, the June 1921 Parisian abode of the famous Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright who wrote Our Town. But he didn't stay here long because he tired of the bedbugs!

    Thankfully, this horror of a hotel is not longer in business. The current business residing here is a travel agency called Urban Safari.

    Please note that the rue de Seine is well-known for its art galleries; a wonderful place to shop & browse! Also, for a lovely view thru an archway of the Pont des Arts & the Louvre walk along the street to the river Seine to come upon this surprisingly exquisite sight!

    You can read more about Thornton Wilder in Expatriate Paris: A Cultural & Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920's by Arlen J. Hansen.

    If you crave a snack, one block west on rue Jacob & rue Bonaparte is the fabulous salon de thé, Ladurée, where they serve the most fabulous macarons. Or go one block south to #73 rue de Seine and try Patricia Wells' favorite lemon tart from Gérard Mulot's boulangerie ~ either way you can't lose!

    Photos: Feb 06

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    Hôtel d'Angleterre & its Illustrious History!

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    Hotel d'Angleterre
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    Many people think of the Hôtel d'Angleterre as just a nice hotel to stay at on rue Jacob, another nice hotel amongst a slew of nice hotels in this area; few realize its historic political & literary significance.

    Formerly the British Embassy, Benjamin Franklin once refused to set foot on "British soil". However, it WAS here that he, John Jay & John Adams worked out details of the treaty with England; just a few steps down the street at #56 (indicated by plaque) these 3 eminent men signed the peace treaty with the British September 3, 1783.

    In 1777, Franklin & his 2 grandsons lived at #52. His American compatriot, Thomas Jefferson, was also a guest at the d'Angleterre.

    The original name of this hotel was Hôtel Jacob then changed in 1925 to Hôtel Jacob-et-d'Angleterre before settling on its current appellation.

    Moving forward we see that this was the first hotel where Hemingway & his bride Hadley (grandmother to Margo & Mariel) stayed (Dec 1921) before taking digs of on rue Cardinal-Lemoine in the Quartier Latin.

    Other illustrious writers/artists include Djuna Barnes, Sherwood Anderson (a favorite of Gertrude Stein - over whom she & Hemingway had a falling out), and Man Ray, the famous artist/photographer.

    At #20, Natalie Barney held her famous literary salons. Patricia Wells' Paris apartment is located at #10. And on the corner of rue Jacob & rue Bonaparte you'll find the most divine macarons at Ladurée.

    Photos: Feb 06

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    Papa's Place in Paris

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    Hemingway & Hadley's Home on rue Cardinal Lemoine
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    Hemingway's Apartment in Paris
    74 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine – 4th floor apt.

    A man's gotta live SOMEWHERE! This is the first place where Hemingway lived with his 1st wife, Hadley. This building has a plaque on the front stating as such.

    They moved here January 9, 1922 after their initial stay at the Hotel Jacob (which is now known as the Hotel d'Angleterre). They lived here a little over a year & a half before moving August 1923 to Toronto, Canada so their son (Bumby, father to Mariel & Margot Hemingway) could be born in North America.

    Just around the corner at 39 rue Descartes, Hem worked in the same room where the poet Verlaine had died.

    Photos: Feb 2006

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    Natalie Barney's Literary Salon in Paris

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    Natalie Barney's home famous for literary salons
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    Natalie Barney's literary salons (20, rue Jacob ~ 6th arrondissement) rivaled Gertrude Stein's. Due to the long-lived enmity between James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, Joyce opted to hang out here instead. This was also the preferred salon for poet, Ezra Pound.

    In the garden there is reputed to be a well leading to a tunnel under the Seine to the Louvre but the garden was locked & overgrown; I could see nothing, not even the famed Greek Temple.

    Just a few doors down at 10 rue Jacob is American food critic Patricia Wells' apartment in Paris; this is where she holds her cooking classes (reserve WELL in advance). Around the corner on rue Bonaparte is the divine salon de thé, Ladurée, which serves the most wondrous macarons (not those hard coconut-infused macaroons one finds in the US) in a plethora of flavours.

    You can read more about Natalie Barney, this story and expatriates in Arlen J. Hansen's inimitable Expatriate Paris: A Cultural & Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920s.

    Photo: April 2003 & Feb 2006

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    e. e. cummings & the "pisseur incident"

    by BeatChick Updated Nov 27, 2004

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    Rues G��t-le-C��ur & St-Andr��-des-Arts

    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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    Papa's Office in Paris

    by BeatChick Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    Hemingway's Office - 39 rue Descartes
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    39 rue Descartes
    On the top floor

    A man's gotta write SOMEWHERE! When the cafes get overcrowded or your friends know where to find you, your best bet is to rent out a cold top room in a hovel of a building. Better yet, make that in Paris and why not a place that's associated with another literary giant?

    Well, that's what Hemingway did. This apartment was located just around the corner from his apartment at 74 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine where he lived with his first bride, Hadley.

    Hemingway claimed in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, that he worked in the same room where the dissolute French poet Verlaine died (January 8, 1896, in the home of a prostitute). Ahh, the ghosts of old, dead writers to keep one warm and to fuel one's thoughts. It was so cold that he had to keep his clementines in his pocket while he worked in order to keep them from freezing. Hem couldn't have been too poor, though, if he could afford a separate apartment in which to work, no matter how desolate the place!

    Photos: Feb 2006

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    Hemingway's Place de la Contrescarpe

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 29, 2012

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    1. Place de la Contrescarpe
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    This is one of the more pleasant little squares in the Latin Quarter, 5th arrondissement.

    The American author Ernest Hemingway used to live nearby, and he described the square in his short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro, first published in 1936:

    [...] Place Contrescarpe where the flower sellers dyed their flowers in the street and the dye ran over the paving where the autobus started and the old men and the women, always drunk on wine and bad mare; and the children with their noses running in the cold; the smell of dirty sweat and poverty and drunkenness at the Cafe' des Amateurs and the whores at the Bal Musette they lived above. The concierge who entertained the trooper of the Garde Republicaine in her loge, his horse-hair-plumed helmet on a chair. The locataire across the hall whose husband was a bicycle racer and her joy that morning at the cremerie when she had opened L'Auto and seen where he placed third in Paris-Tours, his first big race. She had blushed and laughed and then gone upstairs crying with the yellow sporting paper in her hand. The husband of the woman who ran the Bal Musette drove a taxi and when he, Harry, had to take an early plane the husband knocked upon the door to wake him and they each drank a glass of white wine at the zinc of the bar before they started. He knew his neighbors in that quarter then because they all were poor.

    Around that Place there were two kinds; the drunkards and the sportifs. The drunkards killed their poverty that way; the sportifs took it out in exercise. They were the descendants of the Communards and it was no struggle for them to know their politics. They knew who had shot their fathers, their relatives, their brothers, and their friends when the Versailles troops came in and took the town after the Commune and executed any one they could catch with calloused hands, or who wore a cap, or carried any other sign he was a working man. And in that poverty, and in that quarter across the street from a Boucherie Chevaline and a wine cooperative he had written the start of all he was to do. There never was another part of Paris that he loved like that, the sprawling trees, the old white plastered houses painted brown below, the long green of the autobus in that round square, the purple flower dye upon the paving, the sudden drop down the hill of the rue Cardinal Lemoine to the River, and the other way the narrow crowded world of the rue Mouffetard. The street that ran up toward the Pantheon and the other that he always took with the bicycle, the only asphalted street in all that quarter, smooth under the tires, with the high narrow houses and the cheap tall hotel where Paul Verlaine had died. There were only two rooms in the apartments where they lived and he had a room on the top floor of that hotel that cost him sixty francs a month where he did his writing, and from it he could see the roofs and chimney pots and all the hills of Paris.

    (From this text it appears that Hemingway had a bicycle when he lived in Paris in the 1920s.)

    Vélib' 5016, 1 rue Thouin
    48°50'39.86" North; 2°20'58.32" East

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    Home of the Hunchback's Creator

    by CALSF Updated Dec 9, 2004

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    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.

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