Of all the ex-pat writers who spent time in Paris, Ernest Hemingway is usually the first to come to mind. In conjunction with the launch of our new "Walking with Hemingway" seminar, let us take you on a "visual stroll" of some of this prolific writer's favorite haunts in Paris.
We started our stroll at Saint Germain. While Les Deux Magots and the Café de Flore tend to steal most of the spotlight as the famous cafés of artists, writers and thinkers, Hemingway preferred the Brasserie Lipp, located just across the boulevard. He liked to grab a meal here and gives this description in a Moveable Feast; "The beer was cold and wonderful to drink. The pommes à l'ihuile were firm and marinated and the olive oil delicious. I ground black pepper over the potatoes and moistened the bread in the olive oil. After the first heavy draft of beer I drank and ate slowly. When the pommes à l'huile were gone, I ordered another service and a cervalas. This was a sausage like a heavy, wide frankfurter split in two and covered with a special mustard sauce." His description continues, but I think we can imagine that his appetite and his creativity were both satisfied by his time spent in Lipp.
Today it is known for its wide-selection of beers, but it used to be one of the favorite meeting points of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. If only the oak panels, which are the same as 90 years ago, could talk, they would certainly have many stories to tell!
Hemingway could often be found at Le Select, practically every day, for his breakfast. He mentions it on a number of occasions in his writing, often in relation to the races, which were a popular activity for the writer and his circle.
Especially popular among writers and journalists, it's hard to imagine that the elegant Dôme was once a down and out neighborhood bar. Hemingway must have met many writers and artists there, however it was the painter Jules Pascin who earned himself a chapter here in the Moveable Feast entitled "With Pascin at the Dôme."
Besides being convenient meeting places for his friends and fellow writers, the cafes he frequented also gave Hemingway a place to write and reflect; "I went . . . up the Notre-Dame-des-Champs to the Closerie des Lilas. I sat in a corner with the afternoon light coming in over my shoulder and wrote in a notebook. The waiter brought me a café crème and I drank half of it when it cooled and left it on the table while I wrote."
La Cloiserie des Lilas remains the proudest of the cafés for the connections with Hemmingway. We took a break at the end of our stroll to sit in Hemingway's "seat" at the bar, being one of his "gang" for a few moments as we soaked up the atmosphere of this emblematic café and haunt of the great writers who helped shape the century, not only in literature, but also in Paris itself.