Paris in the 1920s was the hotbed of literature and art – European and American artists flocked to the French capital to get inspired by the city’s unique aura, hang out in its cafés and bars, and enter into gloriously doomed relationships with each other. With a short ferry ride with P&O, you can visit Paris and revisit some of the places that represent this era of artistic splendour.t
Ernest Hemingway wrote beautifully about Paris in his memoirs “A Moveable Feast”, and lists some of the people he met and the places he used to frequent with them. Among his Paris crew were poets like Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, as well as Pablo Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This clique of artists mainly hung around the Notre-Dame-des-Champs district or Paris.
It was at Gertrude Stein’s house at 27 Rue de Fleurus that Hemingway and Stein discussed the art of writing and became close friends. Stein was a voracious art collector, and in her flat she had works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Picasso and Paul Cézanne.
Her flat, which she shared with her art critic brother Leo, was only a few minutes away from the Jardin du Luxembourg, which Hemingway loved for the respite its green spaces and gravel walks offered. He often crossed through the park on his way see Stein when he was particularly hard up, so that he wouldn’t have to look at the cafés and restaurants.
Hemingway himself lived in the Latin Quarter on the other side of the Jardin du Luxembourg, at 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. Then a dirt-poor area, it is now a bit more gentrified.
On the south corner of the Jardin du Luxembourg was the Closerie des Lilas, a café where Hemingway and his writer friends sank many café crèmes, wines and spirits. He also used it as an office – he wrote several short stories sitting at its tables, and started what would later become his first novel, The Sun Also Rises.
Another of Hemingway’s favourite places was the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, which was run by an American expat and contained hundreds of novels – a godsend for a reader such as Hemingway. The shop’s original location has changed beyond recognition, but the new incarnation, at 37 Rue Bûcherie (on the southbank of the Seine, next to the Ile de la Cite), is every bit as cosy and well-stocked.
To get to Paris and visit these haunts and many more, you can take a P&O Ferry from Dover to Calais.
Image credit: pablo.sanchez