Hemingway in Paris

DEC 21,1921 - MAR 14,1928 (2276 DAYS)






"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast" 

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, loved Paris. He lived in the capital of France through most of the 1920s; here is where he wrote his first published novel - "The Sun also Rises," went bar crawling with the Irish author James Joyce, got into countless fights, divorced his first wife and married his second, and developed into the author that years later would win the Noble prize for literature. Below are some of the favorite places of “Papa” Hemingway during those days:

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Hemingway in his apartment in Paris, 1924

Place de la Madeleine



The first time Hemingway visited Paris was during WWI, on his way to the Italian front, in the beginning of 1918. Hemingway and a friend came from America on a ship named "Chicago" while the city was under heavy German bombardment. Hemingway's friend wanted the two to drive straight to the safe hotel, but Hemingway asked the taxi driver to take them as close to the place where the bombs were falling as he could. One of the bombs landed dangerously close to the taxi, chipping away a piece of the facade of Madeleine Church.

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Shakespeare and Company



Hemingway returned to Paris at the end of 1921 with his first wife, Hadley. The couple originally planned to visit Rome, but the American writer Sherwood Anderson convinced them to go to Paris instead - primarily because of the low cost of living. Sherwood also gave Hemingway a letter for Sylvia Beach, the owner of the "Shakespeare and Company" bookstore and rental library. Though Hemingway didn't have enough money to join the library, Beach told him he could borrow as many books as he wished. "No one that I ever know was nicer to me", recalled Hemingway years later.

"Shakespeare and Company" was the gathering place for many writers and artists at the time - James Joyce, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Madox Ford among others.
The original store, opened by Beach in 1919, was located at 8 rue Dupuytren. In 1922, the store was moved to a larger location at 12 rue de l’Odéon. This location was closed in 1940 during the German occupation of the city. The store at 37 rue de la Bûcherie was opened in 1951 by George Whitman and originally named “Le Mistral.” In 1964, he changed the name as a tribute to Beach’s bookstore. Much like the original “Shakespeare and Company,” it became a meeting place for prominent literary figures such as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, and Anaïs Nin. Today, the bookstore serves as a regular bookstore and a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. The shop has been featured in prominent films such as “Before Sunset” and “Midnight in Paris”.

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Rue du Cardinal Lemoine



Ernest and Hadley Hemingway rented their first apartment in 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine in the Latin Quarter. The couple moved there in January of 1922 while Hemingway worked on his stories in a room he had rented in a nearby building.

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La Closerie des Lilas



“La Closerie des Lilas” is a cafe, restaurant and brewery, located on at 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse in the Notre-Dame-des-Champs neighborhood. This was one of Hemingways local hangouts and the place Fitzgerald read him the first manuscript of “The Great Gatsby”, after which Hemingway decided that his next published work should be a novel as well.
“Closerie des Lilas” was also frequently visited by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani , André Breton , Jean-Paul Sartre, Oscar Wilde , Samuel Beckett and others.
“The only decent café in our neighborhood was ‘La Closerie des Lilas’”, wrote Hemingway years later, “and it was one of the best cafés in Paris. It was warm in the winter and the terrace was lovely in the spring and fall”.
On that same Balcony, during August and September of 1925, Hemingway wrote most of "The Sun Also Rises" - a book that he wrote in only of six weeks, but took him six months to edit.

Le Dôme Café



Hemingway also visited frequently at “Le Dome Café” in Montparnasse, another well-known meeting place for painters, sculptors, writers, poets and intellectuals.

“Dome Café” is mentioned several times in Hemingway’s book, “A Moveable Feast.” One of the chapters is even named "With Pascin at the Dome", describing an evening Hemingway spent with the painter Pascin and two models, who were also sister. “Le Dome Café” is also mentioned in Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” as well as Jean Paul Sartre’s “The Age of Reason”.

Today “Le Dome Café” is a praised fish restaurant with a Michelin star and prices that the young Hemingway could not have afforded.

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Hippodrome Auteuil



Hemingway used to visit two horsing race venues in Paris: Auteuil Hippodrome on Route des Lacs and Hippodrome d'Enghien-Soisy at 95230 Soisy-sous-Montmorency. Talking with the author John Dos Passos, Hemingway bragged that he was winning "great sums.” However, in "A Moveable Feast," he confessed that, "It took full time work... and you could make no money that way".

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Ernest and Hadley Hemingway left Paris on September 1923 and went back to Toronto, where they had their first son. They returned to the city of lights on January 1924 and rented a small apartment at 113 Notre Dame des Champs, a street where the French writer Victor Hugo used to live. During that period, Hemingway helped the English novelist Ford Madox Ford edit the "Transatlantic Review," an influential monthly literary magazine that published works by James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Hilda Doolittle and Hemingway himself.

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La Rotonde



"Café de la Rotonde" was another one of Hemingway's favorite hangouts. Besides Hemingway, regular visitors of "La Rotonde" included Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso, who depicted the cafe in the painting "In the cafe de la Rotonde.”

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Rue de Fleurus



Another place Hemingway spent a great dill of time was the house of Gertrude Stein home at 27 Rue de Fleurus. The Stein Salon was a gathering point for many of the “Lost Generation”, a phrase Stein herself coined and Hemingway popularized when he used it as an epigraph in “The Sun also Rises”. Stein referred to the young man who served in WWI, but the term came to denote mainly the American exiles roaming in Paris in the 1920’s, such as Hemingway himself, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos and T.S. Elliot. Stein’s Salon was considered one of the centers for the Parisian modernist movement, and other frequent visitors included Picasso, Henry Matisse, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Sinclair Lewis.

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