Blog by Joanna Werynska

Following Hemingway in Paris

Ernest Hemingway has always been and will be one of my favorite writers.

One day I peered into my favorite Shakespeare an Co bookstore and reached for his book  A Moveable Feast .

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, Mr.Hemingway once wrotethen wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, Paris is a moveable feast.


I decided to take a stroll after Hemingway’s Paris. Writer moved to the French capital with his first wife, Hadley, in 1921. The young couple lived in an apartment on the rue Cardinale Lemoine in Paris’ 5th arrondissement.

The apartment was sparse, with no running water and a bathroom that consisted of little more than a bucket. This is Paris standard even now sometimes. This not prevent Hemingway to have a cats.


During their time in Paris, the Hemingway’s became acquainted with other ex-pats living in the city. Composing the famous Lost Generation, these artists, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Picasso and James Joyce, became central to Hemingway’s growth as a writer.

The couple left Paris in 1923, when Hadley discovered she was pregnant with their first child. But their absence was short: after giving birth in Toronto, the couple brought their baby back to Paris in January of 1924. This second life in Paris ushered in one of Hemingway’s most prolific creative periods. In 1927, Hadley divorced Hemingway after discovering his affair with Pauline Pfeiffer, a fashion reporter. Hemingway and Pfeiffer married only a few months later and left Paris for Key West the following year.

Even though nearly a century has passed since Hemingway lived and wrote in Paris his unique version of the city remains: stroll through the windy avenues of the Left Bank, visit the  Luxembourg Gardens or siting down at one of his favorite cafés makes you want to make Hemingway’s Paris your own.

Hotel d’Angleterre

Ernest Hemingway and Hadley spent their first night in Paris in the room 14th. Writer returned to this hotel many times. The hotel still stands, and still allows it’s guests to stay in the room 14 th.


This hotel is perfectly suitated in Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, just a short walk from the cafés and bars Hemingway loved.

Les Deux Magot

Located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this cafe  was once the meeting place for Paris’ literary elite, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Hemingway also frequented the place, and even used it as a setting for a meeting place in The Sun Also Rises.

Nowadays, you’ll find more tourists than literary minds sitting at the café’s tiny tables, but it’s the perfect place to enjoy people watching on the Left Bank over one of Hemingway’s favorite cocktails, like a daiquiri or martini.


 La Closerie des Lilas

Like Les Deux Magots, La Closerie became a watering hole for artistic and literary minds in Paris, and Hemingway went there often to write – he wrote most of The Sun Also Rises there. La Closerie des Lilas was also the first place where Hemingway read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscript of The Great Gatsby.


The Luxembourg Gardens

According to one rumor when family needed money, writer would sometimes hunt pigeons in the Luxembourg Gardens, snapping their necks and hiding their bodies in his son’s pram. You don’t have to stalk pigeons to experience the Luxembourg Gardens. But stroll around the grounds (it’s the second largest public park in Paris) and admire the shaded alleys and fountains, or visit the Luxembourg Palace housing the French Senate.



Shakespeare and Company

Anyone fascinated with Hemingway – or any other early modernist English author – should came to this historic bookstore near the Seine on Paris’ Left Bank. Started by American expat Sylvia Beach in 1919, the bookstore served as the center for English speaking writers and publishers in post-WWI Paris.

Hemingway mentions the shop in his Paris memoir, He writing, In those days there was no money to buy books. I borrowed books from the rental library of Shakespeare & Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach. On a cold windswept street, this was a warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living. Shakespeare and Company was also the first place to publish James Joyce’s classic  – Ulysses. 

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Harry’s New York Bar

It was also one of the bars Hemingway frequented, near the Paris Opera. The place served as a meeting place for expatriates in the city. The bar itself came from a Manhattan bar that Harry’s original owner, jockey Tod Sloan had owned  previously.



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