Monday, March 19, 2012

Hemingway Wrote Here ~Missing Paris Day

Today we go back to Paris for another writer's tour
this time taken from Michael Palin's "Walk Like the Man" Hemingway Adventure tour.

On a rainy day in December, I followed Palin's directions:
Starting on the 7 line to Metro stop Censier Daubenton,
walk up Rue Mouffetard 
(not missing the most lovely and unusual house at the bottom of the hill, 
 across from church St. Medard) to the Place de la Contrascarpe.
Take Rue du Cardinal Lemoine to the right
to No. 74. 

It is here that Hemingway and his first wife Hadley lived during their first year in Paris in the early '20's. 
If you have not read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, 
it is a fascinating look at the turbulent and remarkable lives of the Hemingways from the woman's perspective,
describing the many and varied sights and sounds, smells and tastes of 1920's Paris
and, of course, life as the wife of Ernest. 

According to the plaque outside the door,
they occupied an apartment on the third floor.
Hadley, in The Paris Wife, describes it as "two oddly shaped rooms" across from a bal musette,
a dance hall, with constant accordion music playing. 
She determined that the accordion music would be the sound of their first year in Paris.  

And always, those shops or cafes near any door he's touched
make the most of his fame. 

When Hemingway found he could not write in their cramped apartment,
he took a top floor room nearby
just up Cardinal Lemoine and to the left 
at 39, Rue Descartes.

But this time the restaurant below has attached itself to the poet Verlaine
who apparently died here, calling itself La Maison de Verlaine.

In the book, Hadley describes the view as an ugly one 
across the Parisian chimneys and rooftops,
you know, the view we all wish we had. 

And it was here that he wrote, in that first winter in Paris, working in a small, cold room
and walking the city when he could no longer write,
and then that Ernest and Hadley met the writers of Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Co. bookstore,
those Gertrude Stein referred to as The Lost Generation. 

Coming soon, a few more writers locations
on our walks in Paris.


  1. Lovely post. I just love France.

    As someone interested in words, I thought you might like to look into the word play in cryptic crosswords (if you aren't already into them). I have been doing a series of posts about cryptic clues and how to solve them. This is the first one in the series:

  2. Good evening Kirsten! It is stormy and violent outside tonight, but you are making me want to curl up to THE PARIS WIFE, for it is sitting right here in front of me!!! LOVELY PHOTOS MY DEAR! Anita


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