Paris is a literature hub, where there are centuries of amazing writers who were native or who moved there to be inspired. Here are a couple other places to visit if you so wish…. Know that this is only a short list of endless possibilities to explore the literature world of Paris.
Transformed into a café around 1885, Les Deux Magots located at 6 Place St. Germain-des-Pres is a must stop for literary enthusiasts. During the 19th century the symbolists, Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé used to meet here. Since then, it has been frequented by authors such as Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Hemingway, Picasso, and Prévert, among others. Check the tables and you will notice plaques where these authors used to sit as well as pictures of these authors that line the walls.
Visit one of the homes of Victor Hugo where he lived from 1832-1848, located in the Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris. He moved here when he was thirty years old with his wife and their four children. Here he wrote some of his major works including Les Misérables, Ruy Blas, and Contemplations. It was turned into a museum in 1902, it is free of charge to the public and open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On the corner of rue Vielle du Temple and Rue St. Croix in the area of the Marais, you will find a little bookstore/café: La Belle Hortense. A literary legend where Balzac and Baudelaire used to frequent. The cafe has remnants from its 19th century history, including a small bookstore and reading room. Don’t be surprised to find art exhibits, readings, and book signings in this treasure of a place.
Other places to visit that are not necessarily on the to see list are the cemeteries of Paris. They are beautifully maintained, and many famous people are buried in them. Following is a short list of some graves you may want to visit. At the entrance of each site, ask for a map that will give you the names and locations of each grave.
Cimetière Père Lachaise established by Napoleon I in 1804:
- Guillaume Apollinaire
- Honoré de Balzac
- Paul Eluard
- Jean de La Fontaine
- Marcel Proust
- Gertrude Stein
- Oscar Wilde
For those who enjoy music…
- Frédéric Chopin
- Jim Morrison: the most visited grave
- Edith Piaf
I hope you have as much fun visiting these sites as I did! Here I am in Les Deux Magots hoping that some of the inspiration and talent seeped into my pores- even just a little.