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Paris Through Literary Eyes

May 26th, 2013

Looking for a new way to explore one of Europe’s most beloved cities? Why not discover the City of Lights by retracing the steps of literary greats who called Paris home? Paris’s literary history is so rich it rivals the city’s creamiest brie. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice that, either. Here’s a list of must-see sights in this glorious city, as well as some options for literary exploration.

If you have an in-flight movie option on your way across the pond, you might consider watching Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. Loaded with references to America’s “Lost Generation” of expatriate writers and artists of the 1920s, it will whet your palate for the sights to come. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and his most admired friend, Ernest Hemingway, are all alluded to in the film, along with Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and more. Of course, you can also dive deeper into French culture by exploring some of France’s own literary greats, such as HonorE de Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.

Literary Homes, Haunts, and Resting Spots

If you are interested in making the pilgrimage to some of these Paris homes, try a walking tour, or stop in for a visit at one of these museums.

Authors’ Former Homes

- F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:

· 14 rue de Tilsitt, 8th arrondisement, right bank, near the Arc de Triomphe

· 58 rue Vaurigard, 6th arrondisement, on the corner of the Luxembourg gardens

- Edith Wharton:

· 58 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondisement, across the street from Hotel Matignon

(Prime Minister’s residence)

- Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus:

· near Luxembourg Gardens’ western side

· Gertrude Stein and life partner Alice B. Toklas’s salon, frequented by artists and writers alike

Cemetaries

- Pere Lachaise Cemetary:

· take an atmospheric walk and pay homage to Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Apollinaire, Moliere, and more

· location: 16 rue du Repos, 75020 Paris

· hours: 8:30am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 5pm daily

- Montparnasse Cemetary:

· pay tribute to Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant, and more in one of Paris’s favorite literary neighborhoods

· location: 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris

- PanthEon:

· worth a visit for the architecture alone, you can also stop by the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and more

· location: Place du PanthEon, 75005 Paris

· website: http://www.pantheonParis.com/

Museums

- Maison de Victor Hugo

· address: 6, place des Vosges Hôtel de Rohan-GuEmEnEe, 75004 Paris

· website: www.musee-hugo.Paris.fr

· tel: 01 42 72 10 16

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Maison de Balzac: the home of HonorE de Balzac

· address: 47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris

· website: http://www.Paris.fr/pratique/musees-expos/maison-de-balzac/p6837 (in French)

· tel: +33 1 55 74 41 80

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Chateau de Monte Cristo: writer Alexandre Dumas’ country home outside the city

· address: Château de Monte-Cristo, 78560 le Port-Marly

· website: http://www.chateau-monte-cristo.com/en/index.html

· tel: +33 1 39 16 49 49

· hours: April 1st – November 1st: Tues – Fri 10am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 6pm; Sat/public holidays: 10am – 6pm; November 2nd – March 31st: Sundays only, 2pm – 5pm

- MusEe Carnavalet: covers the history of Paris, with great exhibits on Voltaire and Rousseau

· address: 23, rue de SEvingE, 75003 Paris

· website: http://www.carnavalet.Paris.fr/en/homepage

· tel: +33 01 44 59 58 58

· hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday

The Quintessential “Writer in Paris” Experience: CafE Life

If you are interested in viewing the world through these writers’ eyes, debating grand ideas with your own companions, or just nibbling on a croissant and sipping a cafE au lait, you might try one of the following places:

- The Polidor (Cremerie-Restaurant Polidor)

· go for: the history, tried and true Parisian food

· location: 41 rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris, open 12 – 2:30pm, 7pm – 12:30am daily except Sundays

· famous guests: Paul Valery, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo

· website: http://www.polidor.com/index.html

- Maxim’s

· go for: an expensive meal and Art Deco furnishings

· location: 3, rue Royale, 75008 Paris

· famous guests: Marcel Proust, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau

· website: http://www.maxims-de-Paris.com/p2us.htm

· tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 27 94

- CafE Les Deux Magots

· go for: the literary history and a cafE au lait

· location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des PrEs, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Albert Camus, StEphane MallarmE, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 25

· website: http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php

- CafE de Flore

· go for: Art Deco interior, the history, and some delicious hot chocolate

· location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and many more

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 26

· website: http://www.cafedeflore.fr/accueil/

Tours

With so much vibrant history in this city, one great way to explore is to take a tour led by an experienced guide who can weave the threads of history together. Try Paris Walks’ Hemingway’s Paris tour (12 Euro/person) or for a slightly broader sweep, Localer’s Paris Literature tour (39 Euro/person), which includes a visit to Sylvia Beach’s famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.

http://www.Paris-walks.com/summer-walks.html

http://www.localers.com/day-tours/Paris-literature-tour

And Don’t Miss….

While you visit the City of Lights, take advantage of these great deals and must-sees.

City Sightseeing Paris / Les Car Rouges

Paris’ Flea Market - The Insider’s Tour

Seine River Sightseeing Cruise

Hotels:

We would like to recommend a couple of nice and affordable hotels to stay in while you’re visiting Paris:

Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

Comfort Hotel Bobigny Paris Est

Pavillon Villiers

Pavillon Italie

Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site where you can find advice on marriage finances.

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