HEMINGWAY'S PARIS ~ Part 3
Hemingway's Hangouts & Landmarks
American Express Company
11, Rue Scribe (9th; Opéra)
Like many Americans, Hemingway used the American
Express office as his mailing address. Today, the office is still
teeming with Americans buying travelers cheques or seeking to replace
the ones they lost, and Amex still offers Poste Restante
(general delivery) to cardholders.
63, Boulevard Victor Hugo (Neuilly; terminus, bus 32)
MacLeish drove Hemingway here in March 1928 to get nine stitches in
his right forehead after he pulled his bathroom skylight in the
rue Férou down on himself at 2:00 a.m. To stop the
bleeding, his head was wrapped in toilet paper, "a magnificent
absorbent which I've now used twice for that purpose in pretty much
emergencies," he wrote to Maxwell Perkins, an editor at Scribner's.
Seeing the story in the papers, Ezra Pound wired Hemingway, "Haow
the hellsufferin tomcats did you git drunk enough to fall upwards
thru the blithering skylight!!!" Hemingway claimed he had mistaken
the skylight cord for the toilet's. Drunk or not, he had been out
with the MacLeishes until 11:00 p.m.
The well-known photograph of Sylvia Beach and a wounded Hemingway
-- with a bandage wrapped around his head -- standing outside Beach's
bookstore Shakespeare and Company, is from this time.
Seine River banks (5th; Place St. Michel)
Hemingway used to buy second-hand books from these
boîtes des bouquinistes which line the quais of the
Seine across from Notre-Dame Cathedral. Resembling large footlockers
bolted to the stone parapets of the river, these green and wood boxes
have fronts which swing open into awnings, under which the
proprietors generally perch their chairs, setting up portable display
shelves with bric-a-brac, comics, engravings, postcards, musty first
editions (if you're lucky), and lots of paperbacks. According to the
Baedeker Guide, these bouquinistes formerly shared the
17th-century Pont Neuf with con artists, jugglers, showmen and
junk dealers; today, only the book dealers remain.
La Closerie des Lilas
171, Boulevard du Montparnasse (6th; Port Royal)
This was Hemingway's favorite café, just around
the corner from his apartment on Notre-Dame-des-Champs. A
tree-shaded terrace looks out on Marshal Michel Ney's statue. On its
marble-topped tables is where the author penned The Big
Two-Hearted River, and finished his first draft of The Sun
Also Rises. In A Moveable Feast, written many years later,
he remembers sitting here with his cahiers (notebooks),
pencils, a horse chestnut and rabbit's foot in his right pocket for
Hemingway liked La Closerie because the Montparnasse crowd
didn't hang out there, permitting him quiet afternoons to work. The
Milan family bought the place in 1925, and still manages it today.
Not much has changed since then, as an old photograph on the wall
attests. A small plaque to "E. Hemingway" marks his favorite spot at
the bar; hanging over it is a portrait of the artist as a young man.
Shakespeare and Company
12, rue de l'Odéon (6th; Odéon)
This English-language bookstore is arguably the most
famous Parisian literary landmark for Americans. Although today's
store is on the Seine, it was situated by the Luxembourg Gardens in
Hemingway's day, much closer to the center of the postwar expatriate
Sylvia Beach modeled her store on that of her lover, Adrienne
Monnier, whose La Maison des Amis des Livres attracted such
French writers as Gide, Claudel, Larbaud, and Valéry. Monnier
was the first to publish Hemingway in French.
Beach had instituted a lending library as a service to the
Americans, and Gertrude Stein was its first subscriber. The library's
ledger for December 28, 1921, shows that Hemingway paid 12 francs for
the right to check out two volumes at a time. (In A Moveable
Feast, he remembers taking four home.)
The store gained perhaps its greatest
international recognition when Beach published James Joyce's
Ulysses in 1922 ("paper bound, printed on poor paper, it
abounded in typographical errors" and sold for 60 francs). However,
when the Depression hit and the expatriates' remittance checks from
home stopped, many of them returned to America, leaving Beach with no
clientele and struggling to survive. To help her raise money,
Hemingway returned to Paris on May 12, 1937 to give a public reading.
Shakespeare and Company closed during World War II. Because a
German officer had threatened to confiscate the store when Beach
refused to sell him her last copy of Finnegans Wake, she hid
all her books and even painted over the shop sign within hours after
he stormed out.
Today's version of Shakespeare and Company (37, rue de la
Bucherie) was opened in 1951 as Le Mistral by George Whitman,
who changed the name in 1964. It still remains a cultural center
today, and features a visiting writers' room upstairs, along with a
collection of Beach memorabilia.
Stein, Gertrude (apartment)
27, rue de Fleurus (6th; St. Placide)
Hemingway and much of the expatriate community adopted
Stein's studio and apartment as its focal center for literary
discussion. Stein lived here for almost thirty years with her lover,
Alice B. Toklas, whose task was often to entertain the spouses while
the writers conversed with Stein about literature.
Author: Ian C. Mills ©1998 All Rights Reserved
Bibliography: The Cafés of Paris: A Guide, Christine Graf, Interlink
Publishing Group Inc., Brooklyn, NY.
Paris: A Literary Companion, Ian Littlewood, Franklin Watts Inc.,
New York (out-of-print).
Americans In Paris, Tony Allan, 1979, Contemporary Books Inc.,
A Guide To Hemingway's Paris - with Walking Tours, John Leland,
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC, division of Workman Publishing Co. Inc., New York.
Passport's Illustrated Travel Guide to Paris, 3rd Edition,
Elizabeth Morris, 1996, Passport Books, division of NTC Publishing Group, Chicago.
Fodor's 97 France, Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc., published
in the U.S. by Random House, Inc., New York.
Tripod LiteraTour: Hemingway.
Image sources: Sylvia Beach and Ernest Hemingway in front of Shakespeare and
Company: from Princeton University Library, Sylvia Beach Collection. Shakespeare &
Co. bookstore front, modern day location: photo by Deborah Wong, A Guide To Hemingway's
Paris - with Walking Tours, John Leland, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC, division
of Workman Publishing Co. Inc., New York. Cover shot of "The Cafés of Paris: A
Guide": from Amazon.com Books.
With this guide, the explorer can follow
Hemingway's footsteps from his first day
in the city in December, 1921, when he
settled in the 6th arrondissement with his
bride, to his last meeting with Gabriel
Garcia Marquez in 1957. Combines
up-to-date information with literary
history and biographical anecdotes. Maps
from Paris, France , July 16, 1998: After
two important introductory chapters, the
seven unique walking tours take the reader
or tourist to every Hemingway (and
Fitzgerald) site in Paris. These walks
were tried/previewed by many classes of
students at the American University of
Paris. Although a few details date the
book, it holds up today! The walks, by the
way, include wonderful quotations from
many of Hemingway's novels, short stories,
and his memoirs of Paris. Buy the book and
come to Paris!!
by Noel Riley Fitch
Usually ships within 2-3 days.
Published April 1992 by St. Martin's Press
List Price: $10.95
"Paris is the café of Europe," said the Abbé
Galiani. For the average Parisian, the local café
serves almost as a private club, a place to wake up to the
morning's first cup of coffee, to take a break from work or
to meet friends and relax at the end of the day. For the
visitor, getting to know the cafés can be the way to
reach the city beyond the tourist haunts, to really
discover the city, its people, its pace, its charm.
You could be sitting in the café where Ernest
Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises ; or you could
have coffee where Henry James met Turgenev. In Paris, it is
possible to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest
writers and artists of this and earlier centuries.
by Christine Graf
Usually ships within 24 hours.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1996