07 Sep Touring the Literary Past of Paris
The inspirational power of Paris is legendary. For centuries writers and painters have been drawn to the grandness and magic of this star-studded city in search of inspiration, as if pulled by some artistic magnet affixed atop the Eiffel Tower.
For bibliophiles, no tour of Paris would be complete without visiting the famous haunts, bookstores and cafes that were popular for generations to generations, namely Earnest Hemingway’s Lost Generation to Jack Kerouac’s Beat Generation.
In the Latin Quarter you’ll find one of the most famous bookstores not just in Paris, but the world. At Shakespeare & Co., Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein would debate the artistry of writing, while the shop’s owner, Sylvia Beach, helped James Joyce publish a thin little tome called “Ulysses.” The original Shakespeare & Co. was located on the rue de l’Odéon. It moved in 1951 to welcome a new generation of writers: Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso.
You will find several literary landmarks in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, where legendary cafes Deux Magots and Café de Flore were frequented by Jean-Paul Satre, William Faulkner, Albert Camus and André Gide, to name a few.
Many writers lived briefly in the Montparnasse district, including the spirited Henry Miller and the intellectual Ezra Pound, while many more will live there permanently in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, the final resting place for Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett.
For a deeper look into the well-written history of this grand city, consider a literary-themed walking tour the next time you visit Paris.