Ernest Hemingway on what is now one of the most popular districts in Paris

Hemingway was twenty-two, his wife Hadley twenty-six, when they moved to the Quartier Latin, No. 74 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, three weeks after arriving, on January 9, 1922. Now it is the epitome of tourist Paris but in the early 1920s, the district was solidly lower class.

Rue de Cardinal Lemoine Hemingway Paris

In The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1987), the writer Harry, dying of a wound in Africa, thinks back to his life in this neighborhood:

And in that poverty, and in that quarter across the street from a Boucherie Chevaline* and a wine-co-operative he had written the start of all he was to do. There never was another part of Paris that he loved like that, the sprawling trees, the old white plastered houses painted brown below, the long green of the autobus in that round square, the purple flower dye upon the paving, the sudden drop down the hill of the rue Cardinal Lemoine to the River, and the other way the narrow crowded world of the rue Mouffetard. The street that ran up toward the Pantheon and the other that he always took with the bicycle, the only asphalted street in all that quarter, smooth under the tyres, with the high narrow houses and the cheap tall hotel where Paul Verlaine had died. There were only two rooms in the apartments where they lived and he had a room on the top floor of that hotel that cost him sixty francs a month where he did his writing, and from it he could see the roofs and chimney pots and all the hills of Paris.

*boucherie chevaline –  a horse butcher; in many parts of Europe, horse meat is eaten quite commonly.

 

Panorama Place de la Contrescarpe Rue Mouffetard Before and Now
RUE MOUFFETARD IN THE 1920’S (THE WAY HEMINGWAY SAW IT) VS. NOW.
Rue Mouffetard market
FAMOUS MARKET ON RUE MOUFFETARD IN THE 1920-S AND NOW
map
PLAN OF THE LATIN QUARTIER

Source: 1, 2, 3

The myth of a writer in Paris

John Baxter, Five Nights In Paris, 2015.

Anyone sucking a pen in a Paris café today is probably a freshman from the Oatmeal, Nebraska, Community College, wondering what to write on a postcard after “Having wonderful time. Wish you were here.” Professional writers seldom put pen to paper in public , and that goes double for the French. One is as likely to find an author practicing his trade in a café as, say, a dentist.

1961-Jane-Fonda-Paris-Café-de-Flore

Where are the croissants?

No matter how politely or distinctly you ask a Parisian a question he will persist in answering you in French.

Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan life, 1978

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 19.12.17

 

“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, A Moveable Feast