For our class, we had to read A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway. We then spent two different afternoons walking around in small groups to visit some of the iconic places mentioned in the book. So fasten your seat belts, it’s time to go on the Hemingway Hunt.
Stop one was the Place de la Contrescarpe. On the corner pictured on the left, I can imagine the Cafe des Amatuers which Hemingway mentions was in a “was a cesspool of the rue Moufetard, that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe.” When we visited the square, it was filled with the sound of people laughing and talking with friends. There were a couple of other cafes in the square that filled it with the smell of various foods that were accompanied with the sound of a musician playing in the middle of the area.
Next place to visit is 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine were Hemingway and Hadley, his wife at the time that book was written, lived. The outside looked like another apartment exterior but Hemingway describes the apartment as a basic place to stay stating that it “could not have been a poorer one.”
Stop three is right around the corner. At 39 rue Descartes is were Hemingway rented a room to write in. While we don’t know exactly which room he was in, I think it was the one on the far left of the picture.
Our next stop is along the Quais or riverbank of the Seine River. Throughout our stay in Paris, my roommate got three books from different stalls that were all in French and all for really good prices. Some do sell paintings and souvenirs as well as books in English.
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in next on our list! I really enjoyed walking through the store a couple times when I was there. I got a couple journals which I got stamped with the official bookstore stamp which is pretty cool!
This one was opened in the 1960’s so it isn’t the original but still a neat experience especially if you go upstairs.
27 rue de Fleurus is where Gertrude Stein and Alice B lived and where Hemingway visited often. In his book he says, “it was easy to get into the habit of stopping in at 27 rue de Fleurus late in the afternoon for the warmth and the great pictures and conversation…It was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good thing to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries.”
Musée du Luxembourg in the Jardin du Luxembourg is a fun building that is also a stop on the Hemingway Hunt that we will come back to again in a little bit.
The next couple stops are a part of Hemingway route he would take when he tried to walk without getting hungry.
The first stop on the walk is the Place de l’Observatoire.
From there you take rue de Vaugirard which will take you by the Musee du Luxembourg.
Inside you can look at pictures which Hemingway says ”
were heightened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry.“
Next you take rue Férou to Place St. Sulpice.
This quite square has:
a huge fountain in the middle with lions on it,
a big church on one end,
two statues of bishops,
and a lot of pigeons.
Brasserie Lipp is where Hemingway would go often after talking to Syliva Beach, who owned Shakespeare and Company at the time. This was a common place for him to eat and drink after his “hunger walk”.
Café de Flore and Deux Magots where places Hemingway went to write on numerous occasions and they just so happen to be across the street from Lipp’s.
Now Les Comptoir des Saints Pères, a cafe which was known as Michaud’s. Hemingway went here with Scott Fitzgerald and had an interesting conversation about Fitzgerald’s intimate life with his wife Zelda.
Down the street at 44 rue Jacob is Hotel d’Angleterre. This Hotel is where Hemingway and Hadley stayed when they first arrived in Paris.
Our last stop is a little further down the street at 22 rue Jacob. This was the home of Natalie Barney in which she had a “salon” for important writers and artists. In chapter 2 of A Moveable Feast Hemmingway talks about his issue with Gertrude Stien’s and Natalie’s sexual orientations. Both women where lesbians and Heminway did not like this way of life. He states that “I had certain prejudices against homosexuality since I knew its more primitive aspects. I knew it was why you carried a knife and would use it when you were in the company of tramps when you were a boy in the days when wolves was not a slang term for men obsessed by the pursuit of women.”
My favorite quote from A Moveable Feast is from the very first chapter. The quote was talking about a story Hemingway was writing at the time. He says that “the story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it.” I love this quote because I feel a similar way when reading a book that I love. I get so lost in the book and don’t feel like I’m reading. Instead I feel like I am watching a movie and the book is leading the way.
One part of A Moveable Feast that I found funny was the first part of Hemmingways trip to Lyons with Fitzgerald. I find it funny because Fitzgerald decided to leave early without checking to see if Hemingway had in fact left early as well. For me, we ligistical oversights happen, I can’t help but shake my head and laugh a little. Throughout the book Hemingway uses humor in an interesting way when describing characters. For me, I think that he tried to use humor to make someone seem less respectable or serious in the eyes of the reader. By describing a person humorously, it can subconsciously make them seem as a laughable character in the eyes of the person reading about them.
I think that Paris is a moveable feast because there is so much for someone to take in when going around the city. For Hemingway, he was writing about the city so he had to “digest” it in order to properly right about it. No matter where he went, there was something for him to digest and then write about it.