top of page
  • saintedmedia

Hemingway in Paris - A Walking with Writers guide by David A. Rennie and Frances O'Neill.

Updated: May 30, 2022

In Context: Paris in the 1920s

In making Paris his home, Hemingway was participating in the wider trend of American writers journeying across the Atlantic to escape the materialism of the United States and to seek inspiration among the enclave of intellectuals and artists who had established themselves here. Gertrude Stein and Edith Wharton moved to Paris in the early 1900s. During World War I, thousands of American ambulance and army personnel travelled to the French capital on duty, among them many of the 20th century’s most notable writers and intellectuals, such as John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, Edmund Wilson and Malcolm Cowley.

This introduction to the exoticism of a foreign metropolis and the freedom and intellectual stimulation of Paris drew scores of Americans back after the war. In addition to the chance of mixing with luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Pablo Picasso, life in France had the added attraction of a favourable exchange rate between the franc and the dollar, allowing Americans to live here relatively cheaply.

Hemingway made Paris his home during the 1920s. The French capital, and the matrix of artists, writers, and publishers that gathered there, therefore played an important role in shaping one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. Concurrently, Hemingway, in works such as “The Sun Also Rises” and “A Moveable Feast” exerted his own influence on the city, by providing enduring literary representations that still colour perceptions of the French capital today.

Hemingway first encountered Paris in June, 1918, as a seventeen-year-old Red Cross Ambulance driver journeying to the Italian front. During this brief stay, Hemingway hired a taxi and toured the city, visiting the impact sites of vast shells propelled towards Paris by German artillery.

His next stay, however, would not be so fleeting. In 1921, Hemingway was living in Chicago with his first wife, Hadley Richardson. He combined occasional work as a journalist with attempts to hone his nascent craft as a writer. Sherwood Anderson, the author of Winesburg, Ohio (1919), whom Hemingway had befriended, suggested that the fertile artistic environment of Paris (and a favourable exchange rate) made the French capital the ideal location for an aspiring writer.

Accordingly, Anderson furnished Hemingway with letters of introduction to the important literary luminaries in Paris; Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach, and Ezra Pound.

Sherwood Anderson had charmed Sylvia Beach in her Parisian bookstore and lending library “Shakespeare and Co”, she had then introduced him Gertrude Stein’s salons, an invite extended only to the select few.

The writer Malcolm Cowley described the inner sanctum of the literati in 1920’s Paris as the expat literary gods of Olympus. Sylvia Beach called them “the Crowd”.

“The Crowd communed largely in private homes and salons, not on public cafe terraces. Many would-be creative types and patron types who desperately wanted to “count” were snubbed, diligently used, or merely ignored.”

Everybody Behaves Badly. Lesley M.M Blume

Hemingway signed-on as a European reporter for the Toronto Star, and journeyed to France with Hadley in the December of 1921. They stayed in The Hotel d'Angleterre for several weeks before moving to a third-floor apartment at 74, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, near the Place de la Contrescarpe.

Hemingway spend the first few months working extremely diligently as a journalist, he was sent on assignments all over Europe, covering conferences, refugees fleeing the Greco-Turkish War, and interviewing figures such as Benito Mussolini and George Clemenceau Prime Minister of France during the First World War. Describing Mussolini as a Europe’s Prize Bluffer and Clemenceau as a very great dead tiger. He wrote to his family about his extensive travel, “10,000 miles in one year…some on the Orient Express.”

Hs reportage was so admired that he was starting to become a celebrated journalist - the Toronto Star even ran an article about the 23 year old behind all those “intensely interesting articles” coming from Europe. The article ran with the title: “Something About Ernest M. Hemingway, Who is Taking the Lid Off Europe.”

Hemingway used Anderson’s introductions to ingratiate himself into the hallowed and exclusive Parisian literary expat community, and set to work developing his writing. Looking back in A Moveable Feast, Hemingway may have exaggerated the poverty in which he and Hadley lived, however there is little doubt that they had difficult times financially, when they went cold and hungry and had holes in their shoes and falling apart clothes.

When Hemingway gave up journalism on 1st January 1924, the family, that now included a new baby, had to rely on Hadley’s modest trust fund, at one point they had no income for several months, due to bad investments and the fund losing half of its capital.

However during these early years in Paris, the Hemingways still managed to have holidays in the Riviera, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Austria.

Having managed to place stories and poems with small but incredibly influential magazines such as The Double Dealer and Poetry, Hemingway earned his first book publication in 1923, when expat Parisian friend, William Bird’s Three Mountains Press brought out Three Stories and Ten Poems.

Hemingway received copies of the work just in time to take them to Canada in order for his first child, John (nicknamed ‘Bumby’), to be born in North America. In Toronto, Hemingway concentrated on journalism for the Toronto Daily Star, which he disliked, claiming that it ruined his ability to concentrate on writing. Hemingway resigned from the Star in 1st January, 1924, and with Bumby old enough to travel, the Hemingways returned to Paris later that month and 9 months earlier than planned.

In Paris, the Hemingway family moved to a bigger apartment at 113 Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs. Hemingway’s second pamphlet, a collection of prose fragments entitled in our time appeared. Hemingway worked on further short fiction pieces which, along with the stories from Three Stories and Ten Poems and the vignettes of in our time, formed the basis of his first major collection In Our Time. In 1925, while on a skiing holiday in Austria, Hemingway learned that American Publisher, Horace Liveright had accepted In Our Time. Horace Liveright at the time published Harold Loeb, a friend of Hemingway's, it was at Loeb’s insistence that Hemingway's manuscript was lifted from the slush pile and taken seriously. Hemingway was later to paint an unflattering portrait of Loeb in his breakout novel The Sun Also Rises, where Loeb appears as the character Robert Cohn.

1925 proved to be a momentous year for Hemingway. Shortly after his return from Austria, Hemingway met Pauline Pfeiffer, a writer for Paris Vogue. Despite being unimpressed with him at first, Pauline subsequently became infatuated with Hemingway. Simultaneously, she became a close friend of Hadley. Ernest reciprocated Pauline’s advances, and found himself in love with two women – a situation that would eventually end his first marriage. In April, he also met F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Dingo Bar. Fitzgerald was an established literary star and in his capacity as talent scout for Scribners, he had sought Hemingway out. He had previously written to Max Perkins describing Hemingway as the real thing. In A Moveable Feast Hemingway described Fitzgerald (when sober) as the best friend a man could have.

In 1925, Hemingway visited the Festival of San Fermin at Pamplona with a party of friends, a trip he would use as material for The Sun Also Rises. The ensemble included Hemingway’s friend, the writer and publisher Harold Loeb, who had had a brief affair with the hard-partying socialite Lady Duff Twysden and was still infatuated with her, a situation that was complicated by the fact the Lady Duff was the girlfriend of the alcoholic British ex-pat Pat Guthrie. Guthrie and Lady Duff lived together in Paris and both lived off the increasingly infrequent cheques sent over by his wealthy mother. When a cheque came in they would move into the Ritz and live it up and when the money ran out they were back to living hand to mouth. They apparently didn't have the money to pay for their hotel bill at the Hotel Quintana - much to Hemingway’s annoyance, The Sun Also Rises is, in part, based on the tensions of the 1925 trip, which Hemingway became embroiled in, to the extent of narrowly avoiding a fist-fight with Harold Loeb.

After Pamplona, The Hemingways followed the bullfighting festivals across Spain from Madrid and Valencia and Hemingway wrote furiously, turning out a first draft of his masterpiece in just six weeks.

In October, In Our Time was published in America, and Hemingway began work on The Torrents of Spring, a satire of Sherwood Anderson’s Dark Laughter. Anderson had furnished Hemingway with letters of introduction to the Paris elite and now Hemingway was satirising his work in order to be freed from a publishing deal with Horace Liveright, they shared the same publisher and Hemingway reckoned, correctly as it turns out, that the publisher would stay true to Anderson, their star writer of the time, and would never publish a novel satirising his work by an unknown author.

The Hemingways then left for a skiing trip to Austria, where they were joined by Pauline Pfeiffer. As predicted Horace Liveright turned down the chance to publish The Torrents of Spring, although they were still very keen to publish The Sun Also Rises. In February 1926 Hemingway arrived in New York, ready for a fight with Liveright, which never happened, they ended their association over a few drinks in a New York speakeasy and later that day Hemingway went on to negotiate a very generous new publishing contract with Scribner’s.

Hemingway stayed on in New York for several weeks, courting the members of The Algonquin Round Table. The famous and feared critic Dorothy Parker and the well loved writer Robert Benchley were so taken with Hemingway and his tales of Paris that they made the return trip with him. The two influential New Yorkers were to remain lifelong admirers of Hemingway.

In spring 1926, Hadley challenged Hemingway over his affair with Pauline. They spend the summer together in Juan les Pins as a ménage à trois and in the August, Hemingway and Hadley established separate addresses in Paris, with Hemingway moving into the studio of his friend Gerald Murphy, at 69, rue Froidevaux. Hadley never returned to their Paris apartment, moving first to the Hôtel Beauvoir across from the Closerie des Lilas, and then to an apartment next to Gertrude Stein’s.

In order to convince herself of the seriousness of the Pfeiffer-Hemingway affair, Hadley agreed to grant Hemingway a divorce only if he and Pauline were still in love after a hundred days of separation from each other.

Juxtaposing the intense distress in his personal life, Hemingway’s literary career was flourishing. In October, The Sun Also Rises was published. Positive reviews followed, and the work sold out its first printing by December.

According to Dorothy Parker upon the publication of his novel The Sun Also Rises - “eight hundred and forty-seven book reviewers formed themselves into the world “Welcome.”

While much of the novel is set in Spain, the first nine chapters are based in Paris, and several scenes are set in the cafes that Hemingway frequented, such as the Dingo, the Select, The Dome, the Closerie des Lilas, The Crillon and the Rotonde.

The characters Robert Cohn, Lady Brett Ashley and Mike Campbell in The Sun Also Rises are based on Hemingway’s San Fermin 1925 travelling companions. They did not take kindly to be parodied and immortalised in Hemingway’s best selling novel and their friendships with Hemingway disintegrated.

There is an apocryphal story recounted by Hemingway that Harold Loeb was so incensed at his portrayal as Robert Cohn that he threatened to shoot Hemingway. Hemingway’s reply, with characteristic bluster, was that he could be located at Lipp’s Brasserie, between two and four, should any assailants wish to locate him. He later embellished the story by claiming he had sent a telegram to Loeb to come and for him at The Hole in the Wall, an insalubrious bar with an exit that lead to the Parisian sewers. Hemingway claimed he lay in wait for three days but Loeb was a no show.

In April, 1927, Hadley and Ernest’s divorce was finalised. Ernest and Pauline moved into a luxurious apartment at 6, rue Ferou, a much swankier address than any of Hemingway’s prior Paris residences.

In 1927, Hemingway’s second collection of stories, Men Without Women, was published. Hemingway also worked on early drafts of A Farewell to Arms in his study at 6 rue Ferou.

Much of 1928 was spent away from Paris in Key West, Kansas (where Pauline gave birth to their first child, Patrick), Arkansas, and Wyoming, while Hemingway completed the first draft of A Farewell to Arms. In December, Hemingway’s father committed suicide, placing Hemingway at the head of his family. In April, the following year, the Hemingway’s returned to Paris. A Farewell to Arms was published in September and became a bestseller, with 28,000 copies being bought by mid-October.

By now, Hemingway was becoming weary of Paris. The introduction he provided to Kiki’s Memoirs, the 1929 autobiography of the Montparnasse model, Alice Prin, Hemingway expressed his growing dissatisfaction with the city. Hemingway articulated his distaste for the gentrification of Montparnasse, declaring that the best years of expatriate Paris were finished, if indeed, he reflected sourly, they had ever existed. The family spent much of 1930 in America and, in 1931, the Hemingways moved into the house in Key West.

Hemingway had arrived in Paris as a young man with unrealised literary ambitions. By the time Key West became his permanent residence in 1931, he had crafted one of the most distinctive prose styles of the twentieth century, and achieved worldwide acclaim as the author of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms. He had divorced, remarried, was a father to two sons, had lost his own father to suicide, and changed considerably as a person. Hemingway’s confidence had grown with his success, and the persona Hemingway cultivated as a brash, hard-drinking boxer, fisherman, and bullfighting aficionado, was now firmly established.

These developments in Hemingway’s personality are reflected in his next major connection to the French capital. In 1944, Hemingway travelled to Europe as a war correspondent for Collier’s Weekly. After covering the D-Day landings, Hemingway joined the 22nd Regiment (4th Infantry Division). Hemingway was present during the expulsion of the Germans from Paris. Famously, he also participated in the ‘liberation’ of his former haunts. Hemingway’s entourage were the first of the liberation party to reach the Traveller’s Club on the Champs Elysees, and the Ritz, which had remained open during the occupation.

After the Ritz liberation Hemingway visited Sylvia Beach, the owner of the bookstore Hemingway had loved in the 1920s, Shakespeare and Co. The bookstore had been dismantled during the war but Sylvia still lived above it. She had been interned at various times during the was as had Kitty Cannel, the character Frances Clyne in The Sun Also Rises. American women were at one point interned in the Parisian Zoo in the monkey house, their French friends would pay for a Zoo entrance ticket when they wanted to visit them.

Hemingway also attempted to find Picasso, he was not at home, however the concierge informed him that is was usual for guests to leave a gift for Picasso. The story goes that he left a box of grenades with Picasso with a note : From Hemingway to Picasso.

In 1956, Hemingway returned to Paris and to the Ritz. It was discovered that the hotel had two small trunks belonging to Hemingway, containing notes and personal effects, that had been placed in storage there since 1928. This trunk contained prose sketches of Hemingway’s observations of Paris from his early career.

In 1959 Hemingway and his then personal assistant (and future daughter-in-law) Valerie Danby-Smith and various members of his bullfighting entourage travelled to Paris to revisit scenes of his youth. According to Valerie, the days were filled with champagne, oysters, horse races, and chance encounters with old friends. He loved Paris, and Paris loved him.

Hemingway worked on these vignettes in Paris and Cuba, producing an episodic memoir of his first Paris years. This work appeared posthumously as A Moveable Feast in 1964. Hemingway’s retrospective look at his youth takes an idealised view of his first years in Paris, emphasising his poverty, participation in café-culture, and romantic walks along the Seine. He also took the opportunity to write heavily disparaging treatments of his former associates, Stein, Fitzgerald, and Ford Maddox Ford. Despite the combination of romanticism and slander that colours A Movable Feast, Hemingway was open-minded enough to admit that his recollections were subjective, and that both Paris and the people who visit it are impermanent and subject to development. He noted, however, that Paris was consistent in always proving to be a stimulating location, which rewarded the visitor in proportion to the energy and qualities which they brought

to the city.

Paris gave Hemingway friendships, literary contacts, a home, inspiration, and some of his most memorable experiences. In turn, Hemingway’s writing, and the many biographical circumstances of his remarkable life that unfolded in the French capital, still inform our expectations and experiences of Paris today.

Our trail incorporates many of the key Parisian locations in which Hemingway lived and visited throughout his life.

74, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (Hemingway’s first Paris apartment)

Hemingway lived here between 1922-1923. The neighbourhood was not an affluent one, and the nearby Café des Amateurs acted as a gathering point for local drunks and dissolute characters. The Hemingways lived here in a few cramped rooms. The living room was almost entirely occupied by a vast mahogany bed, and they shared a communal bathroom with the rest of the landing’s residents. The waste was collected by horse-drawn carts, and produced a noticeable odour in warm weather. Hemingway and Joyce were neighbours for a short time, Joyce lived in a mews a couple of doors along and is said to have finished Ulysses there. Joyce and Hemingway enjoyed many nights out, Hemingway claiming that Joyce would provoke strangers and then tell him to fight them.

James Joyce “He’s a good writer, Hemingway. He writes as he is. We like him. A big powerful peasant, as strong as a buffalo. A sportsman. And ready to live the life he writes about. He would never have written it if his body had not allowed him to live it. But giants of his sort are truly modest, there is much more behind Hemingway’s form than people know”

“A bal musette (worker's dance hall) on the ground floor attracted rowdy patrons and Hemingway loved the place.” According to Valerie Hemingway, “He wasn't a good dancer, but he loved the idea of it.”

Town and Country article : Hemingway’s Paris, Seen Through the Eyes of His Last Assistant . Lesley M.M. Blume

Place Contrescarpe

This is the area of Paris that Hemingway lived in when he first moved to the city in 1921. He also began A Moveable Feast with a scene in the Place Contrescarpe, with an evocative description of autumn wind and rain driving the leaves from the trees of in square and onto the wet ground. Hemingway recalled a notorious drinking establishment on the Place, the Café des Amateurs, which was apparently frequented by ill-smelling drunks. The Café also features in The Sun Also Rises, when Jake Barnes and Bill Gorton pass through the Place Contrescarpe after dinner. In this episode, the sight of an aged drunk being served a plate of stew is enough to deter even the hard-drinking Jake and Bill for stopping here for refreshment. Happily, the Place Contrescarpe today has a smarter, metropolitan feel to it, and the Café des Amateurs has been replaced by the more civilised Café Delmas, at no.2.

Rue Mouffetard

Hemingway affectionately described this street in A Moveable Feast, recalling it as a bustling thoroughfare where markets were held. Hemingway was less nostalgic about the primitive sewage system in place in this area at the time, however, in which the effluent was removed by horse-drawn wagons. George Orwell also lived here, in 1928, and similarly (if not so romantically) recalled the area as being full of noise, drunks, and unpleasant odours. Today, particularly on weekends, the rue Mouffetard is still a busy – though far more pleasant – market street.

113, rue Notre-Dame des Champs (Hemingway’s second Paris apartment)

After the birth of the Hemingway’s first son, ‘Bumby’, the old apartment proved too small for the growing Hemingway family, so they relocated to 113, Notre-Dame des Champs. This neighbourhood was more salubrious than their previous one, and the apartment was larger. It did, however, have the drawback of being directly above a sawmill and lumberyard. The new apartment afforded a compensation for the disturbance caused by the noise of the sawing – the very lovely cafe, La Closerie des Lilas.

70, rue Notre-Dame des Champs (formerly Ezra Pound’s studio)

Hemingway’s friend, the Imagist poet, Ezra Pound, lived just along the street at number 70. Hemingway recalled the apartment was decorated with Chinese paintings which he disliked. While Hemingway found Pound’s affected Bohemianism pretentious, a friendship developed between the pair. Pound acted as a tutor of sorts to Hemingway, while he reciprocated by giving Pound boxing lessons. Hemingway recalled one boxing session here coincided with his first encounter with the English writer and painter Wyndham Lewis. Lewis apparently encouraged the sparring to continue, forcing Hemingway to try to do his best to prevent the hapless Pound from embarrassing himself further with his substandard boxing techniques.

The Cafes

Cafe society in Paris is like nowhere else - they invented it. Parisian cafés have always been at the crossroads of art, literature, philosophy, politics and drunken behaviour. Once described as alternative institutions of state, they are still filled with an eclectic mix of writers, artists, musicians, politicians, exiles and tourists.

La Closerie des Lilas - 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse

La Closerie des Lilas has a long and illustrious history of artistic patronage, having been frequented by figures such as Monet, Renoir, Oscar Wilde, and Baudelaire. Jake Barnes drinks here with Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises, and Hemingway repeatedly mentions it as a place in which he worked and socialised in A Moveable Feast. While Hemingway nostalgically recalled writing in Paris cafes, he was, in his early Paris years, a highly disciplined writer. Hemingway was openly contemptuous of the pseudo-artistic crowd that posed in the expatriate cafes on the corner of the Boulevard Montparnasse and Raspail, such as the Dome and the Rotonde. He favoured the Lilas because it was seldom visited by such people and was more a hangout of war veterans. Paris in the 1920s was according to writer Malcolm Cowley akin to one long drug fuelled party, as addictive as cocaine and very difficult to sober up from.

Hemingway prided himself on standing apart from the party scene and putting work before socialising, a fact attested by his rapid development as a writer in his early career.

The menus have a picture of a chiselled and handsome Hemingway in the 1929s and a brass plaque at the bar marks his spot. You can order a filet de boeuf Hemingway, which is flambéd at your table like Crepes Suzette, and a bronze plaque engraved with Hemingway’s name (in the piano bar) commemorates Hemingway’s patronage.

Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald would meet on the terrace of the cafe to discuss the art of writing. Fitzgerald had decided that Hemingway was a brilliant writer with a great future and did everything he could to help his slightly younger protégés get a foot up in the publishing world. Hemingway was at the time an unknown writer, Fitzgerald was a best selling pop icon and the two hit it off, becoming great friends in the first years of their acquaintance and keeping up a life long correspondence.

After Hadley and Hemingway separated, Hadley and their young son moved into the Hotel Beauvoir just across the street. Hadley would come to Lilas and be bombarded with questions asking for the intimate details of her separation from her famous husband.

The cafe has a literary prize - the Prix de la Closerie des Lilas – an award for French-language, female authors, the literary prize is exclusively feminine, with an all female jury.

The Dôme

The Dôme was the first cafe Hadley and Hemingway socialised in when they first came to Paris. They were staying in the nearly Hotel d'Angleterre, a wonderfully inexpensive hotel filled with fellow creatives.

The Dôme was patronised by fellow expats looking to find a sense of belonging with their English speaking contemporaries. Hemingway was later to criticise the Dôme’s clientele, however he enjoyed sipping warm rum punches here with Hadley when they were finding their feet during their first winter in Paris.

The Dôme is now a very good fish restaurant. Photos of the famous clientele line the walls.

La Rotonde Cafe is across the boulevard. In the 1920s the cafe owners were rivals as were the clientele. They would hurl insults at one another across the boulevard. Hemingway was soon very scathing about the expats in Paris who were all to be found at the cafes in Montparnasse. In his newspaper reports he described them as the scum of Greenwich Village, all fakers and chancers - in Paris to live like millionaires and pretend to be writers and poets.

La Rotonde was founded in 1911 and is famous as a meeting place for Russian revolutionaries, a group that included Leon Trotsky. The bar has red banquettes and brass fittings. The walls used to hang with the work of famous artists of the 20th Century, who were allowed to pay their bill with a picture. Picasso was drinking here in 1914 as were a host of aspiring artists that included Modigliani, Diego Riviera. The cafe is still a popular meeting place for present day Parisian Intelligentsia.

Le Select

Le Select has been described as the “soul of Montparnasse” and is patronised by a regular clientele and still a refuge for artists rather than tourists. It looks much the same and retains the same atmosphere as it did when it was the favourite home cafe of the character Jake Barns in The Sun Also Rises.

Hemingway’s friends and the models for his characters in The Sun Also Rises, Harold Loeb and Lady Duff met here for the first time and began their short-lived affair, that seem to have so incensed Hemingway and Lady Duff’s boyfriend of the time Pat Guthrie. Lady Duff and Loeb had been crossing paths for some time and Loeb hadn’t yet plucked up the courage to speak to her. She eventually made the first move, when she was finally free of admirers, one night in Le Select. Hadley Hemingway described Duff as being; “Lovely, a very fine lady, and very much of a man’s woman. She was very popular and very nice to women too. She was fair and square… but she really was a lady.”

Hemingway and his friend and boxing partner Morley Callaghan used to come here for a drink after sparring matches at the American Club. Hemingway introduced the painter Joan Miro to Callaghan in the Select. Hemingway was an art collector from an early age and he loved the work of Joan Miro, buying a picture called The Farm which now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Le Select has welcomed many famous personalities over the years ; Isadora Duncan, Man Ray, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett and more recently Bill Murray, who apparently loves the Croque Monsieur. The place has changed little since it first opened, with a well maintained French colonial interior and a simple Brassarie style menu.

La Coupole

La Copoule is a loving monument to the Art Deco style of the 1920s. The cafe opened as a rival to Le Dome and La Rotonde. It was founded by a former manager of Le Dome, the opening party had 3000 guests and 1500 bottles of champagne, and according to its menu card. “Its grand opening was attended by the brightest stars of art, literature and nightlife: artists and their models, socialites and big spenders, easy women and impossible women.” ( Agent Luxe:

La Coupole, the Legendary Parisienne Brasseries)

Hemingway claims he danced here with Josephine Baker, she was wearing a fur coat, with nothing on underneath, he says they talked about his fractious love life, he was in love with both Hadley and Pauline Pfeiffer. There is a Josephine Baker square just down from here, and one of the pillars has an image of her surrounded by monkeys.

The list of celebrity guests on the official website is impressive, Hemingway sits just below Rita Hayworth, she had dinner here with the Aga Khan and Hemingway is commemorated as having liberated it alongside the Second Armoured Division in 1944. Apparently Francois Mitterrand ate his last meal here. He had a heart attack after enjoying the famous lamb curry, the house speciality.

Les Deux Magots

One of the oldest cafes in Paris and a favourite of Hemingways and a host of famous intellectuals, writers and artists that includes; Albert Camus, Picasso, James Joyce, Jean Paul Satre and Simone de Beauvoir. The Deux Magots set up a literary prize in 1933, it was first awarded to an unknown writer and now looks for unconventional writers, it was set up as an alternative to the more intellectual Prix Goncourt. Les Deux Magots also honours musical-themed work with the Pelléas Prize and is an awarding member of Saint Germain Prize along with the Brasserie Lipp and Cafe des Flores. The Deux Magots maintains its original look and feel with red moleskin banquettes and mahogany tables, the waiters in traditional black and white. In the morning you can choose between a Hemingway and a JP Satre breakfast. The Hemingway includes ham and eggs, the JP Satre, less hearty with a choice of yogurts.

Cafe de Flore

The Cafe de Flore is a Parisian classic with an At Deco interior, red seats, mahogany tables, mirrors and a sunny pavement terrace. Another legendary haunt of the literati and intelligentsia, Cafe de Flore also has an annual literary prize — the Prix de Flore — awarded to authors of French-language literature. As well as prize money, the winner apparently is allowed to have a glass of the Pouilly-Fume at the cafe every day for a year!

The Dingo Bar -10 rue Delambre

While he expressed disdain for the loafers who congregated in the now-famous Montparnasse cafes such as the Le Select, and La Rotonde, Hemingway did visit cafes in this area. At the Dingo, in April, 1925, Hemingway first encountered F. Scott Fitzgerald. As Hemingway recalled the meeting in A Moveable Feast. He was there with Lady Duff Twysden and her boyfriend Pat Guthrie - friends who would later become Brett and Mike in The Sun Also Rises, when Fitzgerald introduced himself. according to Hemingway, Fitzgerald embarrassed Hemingway by praising his work at length, before becoming incapacitated from a miniscule quantity of Champagne. While Hemingway’s recollection of their first meeting did not flatter Fitzgerald, Hemingway neglected to mention that Fitzgerald had assisted Hemingway even before their first meeting. In 1924, Fitzgerald had recommended Hemingway to his editor, Maxwell Perkins of Scribner’s, who in turn contacted Hemingway. Fitzgerald instigated the connection between Hemingway and the editor and publishing house who he would release his main works with.

27 rue des Fleurus (Gertrude Stein’s apartment)

Using Sherwood Anderson’s introduction, Hemingway befriended Gertrude Stein, and became a regular at her apartment at 27 rue des Fleurus. Stein was an independently wealthy art collector and writer. Her apartment was lined with works by Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne, and her residence became a meeting point for local artists and writers. Stein described the generation that had passed through World War I as a ‘lost generation’, a phrase that Hemingway used as an epigraph for The Sun Also Rises. Stein was a godparent to Hemingway and Hadley's son. Hemingway introduced his new friend Fitzgerald to Gertrude Stein’s salons and by extension the Parisian expat literasti who formed “the Crowd.”

Relations between Hemingway and Gertrude eventually soured, the mentor he had once referred to as “his brother” referred to him as “yellow” in her book, The Autobiography of Alice Toklas. Hemingway was equally scathing referred to her as “lardass” when she tried to take credit for his development as a writer.

Luxembourg Gardens and Musee Luxembourg

Hemingway liked walking through the Luxembourg Gardens, admiring the trees and fountains. He regularly visited the Impressionist paintings in the Musee Luxembourg, especially those of Cezanne. From Cezanne’s repetitive use of parallel brushstrokes, Hemingway assimilated artistic principles that he incorporated into the concise, rhythmic prose he was developing in his early years in Paris. Hemingway claimed that he used to take long walks in the gardens when he was attempting to save money by skipping meals. He also tells a perhaps tall tail of killing pigeons to take home to eat and hiding them in the baby’s pram.

6 rue Ferou (Pfeiffer-Hemingway residence)

Pauline and Hemingway married in May, 1927, and moved into an apartment at 6 rue Ferou, adjacent to the Luxembourg Gardens. Pauline’s father and uncle were wealthy businessmen, and Pauline enjoyed a trust fund greater than that of Hadley. Accordingly, the property was more luxurious than Hemingway’s previous Paris residences. The bathroom skylight did, however, fall on Hemingway’s head, giving him a large scar on his forehead. Ezra Pound, in a humorous mood, sent Hemingway the following cable: ‘Haow the hellsufferin tomcats did you git drunk enough to fall upwards through the blitering skylight !!!!!!!!’ (qtd. in Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, p.288). Hemingway was by this time famous on both sides of the Atlantic and his mishap with the skylight was widely reported.

Fitzgerald and Zelda had an apartment around the corner, however the new Mr and Mrs Hemingway did their best to avoid them. Pauline wasn't particularly keen on Scott and Hemingway loathed Zelda. They did come to dinner on one occasion, Scoot had written earlier to promise that The Fitzgerald's would be on their best behaviour.

12, rue de l’Odeon (former site of Shakespeare and Company Bookshop)

Another important friendship made in Hemingway’s Paris years was with Sylvia Beach, who ran the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. Beach allowed Hemingway to borrow books that he could not readily afford to buy. In 1922, Beach published James Joyce’s Ulysses, which had been unable to find another publisher, due to its supposedly licentious subject matter. In her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, Beach remembered Hemingway ‘liberating’ the shop during World War II. He arrived in the rue de l’Odeon with a convoy of jeeps containing his entourage. Beach recalled the meeting: ‘we met with a crash; he picked me up and spun me around and kissed me while people on the street and in the window cheered'. Beach was one of the few people that Hemingway never quarrelled with.

Brasserie Lipp 151 boulevard Saint-Germain

Hemingway recalled that after being encouraged by Sylvia Beach to make sure he ate properly (he liked to exaggerate the poverty of his formative Paris years), he came here to eat. Hemingway had a potato salad and a sausage dish known as a cervelas, washed down with beer. Describing this scene in A Moveable Feast, Hemingway depicted himself as a struggling artist who, despite some modest successes as a short story writer, needed to produce a novel to build a career with which he could support his family. Hemingway may have overstated his financial dire straits, but by the time he came to write his Paris reminiscences in the late 1950s he had far eclipsed his desire to make merely a living from his writing – by becoming one of the world’s most successful and recognisable authors.

44 Rue Jacob - Hotel d'Angleterre

Before settling into their rue Cardinal Lemoine apartment, Hemingway and Hadley stayed here in room 14 during December, 1921. Hemingway wrote an enthusiastic letter to Sherwood Anderson soon after his arrival. He commented that the hotel was inexpensive and cleanly, and wrote cheerfully about being warmed by charcoal braziers outside Parisian cafes, and of the favourable exchange rate which allowed he and Hadley to eat and drink well on relatively little. Hemingway commented that he would soon send out the letters of recommendation to the Parisian literati which Anderson had penned for him. The letter captures the buoyant excitement of young a Hemingway on the precipice of beginning his literary apprentice in Paris, an event that would change not just his life, but twentieth century literature and even Paris itself.

Place St. Michael

In a memorable scene in A Moveable Feast, Hemingway came to a favourite café of his on the Place St. Michael to write on a wet autumn day. Drinking café au lait and St. James rum, he worked on a story set in Michigan – probably from his Nick Adams sequence – in a notebook. Romantically, Hemingway compared writing to the exhausting feeling of having made love, and rewarded himself for his efforts with a dozen oysters and some white wine. Today there is no trace of this “good cafe’ on Place St Michel.

29, Quai d’ Anjou (former site of Three Mountains Press / Transatlantic Review office)

This address on the Ile St.-Louis was the location of the Three Mountains Press, a publishing house owned by William ‘Bill’ Bird, a journalist from New York who accompanied Hemingway on his first trip to Spain in 1923. In 1924, Ezra Pound edited a series of six books which were published by Bird’s Press. These included works by Pound, William Carlos Williams, Ford Madox Ford, and Hemingway’s ‘in our time’ his second pamphlet publication. Although just 170 copies were printed, the work helped to establish Hemingway as a prose writer of importance, with Edmund Wilson commenting that the work possessed ‘more artistic dignity than anything else about the period of the war that has as yet been written by an American’. The short-lived but influential literary magazine, The Transatlantic Review, also had its offices here. Upon Pound’s recommendation, Ford Madox Ford accepted Hemingway as an editor for The Review, which published extracts of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake and, at Hemingway’s request, parts of Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans.

The Ritz

During World War II, Hemingway, with a personal bodyguard and French translator, set up court at room 31 in the Ritz. Here he was visited by a young J.D. Salinger, who would go on to author The Catcher in the Rye, and Jean-Paul Sartre. At this time, Hemingway’s marriage to his third wife, Martha Gellhorn was breaking down, and Hemingway had formed an attachment to Mary Welsh, an American journalist. One day, far along in his drinking, Hemingway shot-up a photograph of Mary’s husband which he had placed on the cistern in his hotel room, destroying the toilet and causing water to leak into the rooms below. Hemingway’s celebrity smoothed-over this transgression with the hotel management, who affected to be unconcerned. You can drink in the Hemingway Bar and even spend the night in the F Scott Fitzgerald suite.

Cafe de la Paix

This was another favourite of Hemingways. He first came here with Hadley when they had a fabulous Christmas dinner together, an extravagance they could ill afford in their early days in the city.

In 1918 George Clémenceau stood on the first floor of the Café de la Paix observe the marching of the French troops in front of the Opera. The cafe was closed during the second World War, when it reopened it served the first meal to General de Gaulle after the liberation of Paris.

Harry’s Bar

Harry's New York Bar at 5 Rue Daunou (or Sank Roo Doe Noo, as a sign in the bar states) has been a Paris institution since 1911 and is the offices home of the Bloody Mary. One of Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s favourites.

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page