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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (second day)

Paris, France 
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View from the kitchen window of the apartment on the rue Mouffetard, the steep winding street that was Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's first stamping ground in Paris in 1922. The thought the seedy, slightly run-down fell of the area romantic and adventurous.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureHe lets us come in and look around the tiny area which, thanks to tongue and groove boarding on the walls and Artex cement work on the ceiling, has absolutely no semblance of period atmosphere. I do get quite excited when he tells me it’s up for sale, though I have to remind myself that it is no more than a room, oblong and quite cramped, with a tiny kitchen and a tiny bathroom.

The only real indication of the presence of Hemingway is in the asking price. One million francs. Or £100,000, or 150,000 euros or $180,000.

The look of the surrounding neighbourhood which Hemingway brings to life in such scabrous detail in the first chapter of A Moveable Feast cannot have changed that much. The buildings have aged a little - they seem to be tipped back at a slant to the street, leaning towards each other at odd angles as if tired of standing upright, but they are the same buildings. Around the corner in rue Descartes there still stands the one-time hotel where a wall-plaque says Verlaine died and in which Hemingway took a garret room to write.

Looking a little closer I can see that there are changes of detail. Where the goats were milked, there are car-parking spaces to let for $150 a month, and the Café des Amateurs, which Hemingway lovingly recalled as ‘the cesspool of the rue Mouffetard’, is now a decorous café full of students and tourists.

The rue Mouffetard itself is still cobbled and it follows a narrow, sinuous course down the hill from the Place Contrescarpe. This morning it is filled with a food market of such abundance that filming amongst the aromas of roasted almonds, crêpes, coffee, fresh-baked bread, cheeses, hams, herbs, and fresh-cooked chickens is exquisite torture. The difference is that the fresh food on the street is no longer cheap and those Hemingway would have called the real Parisians are crowded into the supermarket on the corner.
Paris, France 
click to enlarge 
file size
Rue Mouffetard, the steep winding street that was Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's first stamping ground in Paris in 1922. The thought the seedy, slightly run-down fell of the area romantic and adventurous.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (second day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 78

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RELATED LINKS

  • France
  • Day 1 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 78 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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