Sunday, May 31, 2015

Travel France: Ernest Hemingway in the Left Bank of Paris

Ernest Hemingway, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Sunday, I set out to trace (some of) the steps of the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway. I'm staying in the Saint Germaine District, on the Left Bank, where Hemingway had lived in the 1920s. It was a cloudy and brisk day, very different from the sunny days we've been having, a good day for a walk.  From our apartment near the Pont Neuf, I walked South in search of the buildings Hemingway had occupied and to get a feeling of his Paris world back then.

I made my way South to Saint Germaine Boulevard, passing by lively cafes and an outdoor market with vendors selling food and handicrafts.  The Left Bank (La Rive Gauche) is where artists, writers, and philosphers had congregated. The Sorbonne University is located in the Left Bank and the specific area the students are in is called the Latin Quarter. This was where Ernest Hemingway lived and worked as a foreign correspondent. He was inspired to write his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, while he was in Paris. (He had read Fitzgerald's first novel and decided to write a novel as well.)

I consider Hemingway one of my "writing teachers" since I study his novels when I have a writing problem.

During my walk, I tried to imagine what Hemingway saw and experienced. Even though the Left Bank may be more gentrified now, it would still be recognizable to Hemingway if he were around. The streets and many buildings are the same.

Hemingway had first lived in 74 Rue Cardinal Lemoine, and I found the tall apartment building. There is a plaque outside and some pictures of Hemingway saying he had lived in this building from 1921 to 1925 with his first wife, Hadley Richardson. (She was eight years older than him. The marriage did not last.)

I also found the other apartment Hemingway had stayed in, 39 Rue Descartes, which is near his first place. This one also had a plaque indicating Hemingway had lived there.

Some tourists took pictures of the places as I did; they too had searched for Hemingway's residences.

Here are some other structures in the Latin Quarter (and surroundings) that Hemingway would have seen. 



The following pictures show us dining in the Saint Michel area - yes, Hemingway frequented places in the Saint Michel area.

 And the last two pictures shows Saint Chapelle, and yes, Hemingway would have visited this place. (We attended an evening concert there by the Paris Classic Orchestra. They performed Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It was wonderful listening to the music in that setting!)

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