May 25, 2018

French Friday: Hemingway's Paris

le 25 mai 2018 (145/365)

« Paris est une fête. » | "Paris is a moveable feast." ~ Ernest Hemingway


Much like Gil Pender in Midnight in Paris, I have often wandered the streets of Paris in search of my own literary idols. I have even perched upon the steps of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, dreaming that a classic Peugeot would pull up and whisk me away to the Paris of the 1920's. 


"Hemingway slept here" has become a cliché, but it's true that Ernest lived on the third floor of 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine with his bride, Hadley, from January 1922 through August 1923. Their time here became the inspiration for his Paris memoire, A Moveable Feast.


The Hemingways left Paris in anticipation of the birth of their son, "Bumby," (John Nicanor Hemingway), but returned in 1924 to an apartment on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs near the Luxembourg Gardens.


During this second sojourn in Paris, Ernest fell in love with Hadley's friend, Pauline Pfeiffer. When Hadley discovered the affair in 1927, the couple separated and divorced. Ernest and Pauline occupied to 6 rue Férou before moving to Florida. (Of course, as a true fan girl, I have also visited the Hemingway Home in Key West.) 


While in Paris, Hemingway spent a lot of time at Sylvia Beach's bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. The original was on the rue de l'Odéon, but it was permanently closed during the Nazi occupation. The second iteration of Shakepeare and Company is still thriving on the rue de la Bûcherie, across the Seine from Notre Dame. Read more about this iconic bookshop here and here.


Since his earlier Paris apartments had neither plumbing nor heat, Hemingway spent much of his time writing at the Closerie des Lilas on the boulevard Montparnasse. Most of The Sun Also Rises was written here, as well as the journal entries and notes that would later become A Moveable Feast.


When he wasn't reading or writing, Hemingway was often found at the cafés in Montpartnasse and Saint-Germain.


Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore were two favorites.


Papa's presence can still be felt throughout Paris, yet nowhere is he more celebrated that at the Ritz. In 1944, Hemingway famously "liberated" the hotel and, of course, the bar of the remaining German soldiers by drinking 51 martinis. 


"When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz," ~ Ernest Hemingway


When I'm Paris, I do a lot of "girly" things -- shopping, fashion shows, high tea, etc., but for the past two years, I have chosen to toast both my 50th birthday and my 50th "Gotcha Day" at the Bar Hemingway.


I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by the very "macho" Ernest Hemingway, yet to balance out the testosterone, I sipped a Miss Bond, served by the incomparable barman, Colin Field. Cheers to Hemingway in Paris!