During the roaring twenties, Paris was considered the cultural capital of the Western world. Artists and writers flocked to the city from far and wide, including celebrated American writer Ernest Hemingway. During this 3-hour Hemingway-focused Paris literary tour with a literature expert, we'll explore St. Germain, a neighborhood in the city's Left Bank that was once the epicenter of Paris' avant-garde. We'll learn about a wide range of artists, writers, and thinkers in Hemingway's circle including Fitzgerald, Picasso, Pound, Matisse, and the inimitable Gertrude Stein, whose modernist salon provided the gravitational pull for the entire movement.
Paris Literary Tour
Hemingway loved to walk. His strolls provided him with moments of reflection but also connected him with his community, which we will experience together as we trace Hemingway’s path across the Left Bank. We’ll begin our walk not far from where the young writer and his new wife, Hadley, first established a home on rue Cardinal Lemoine. Here, we will set the tone, immersing ourselves in the life of the expat writers of the era. In the early 20th century, this was a working-class area of the Left Bank's Latin Quarter, close to the bustling rue Mouffetard, and tucked in behind the Panthéon and the Church of St. Etienne du Mont (upon the steps of which Woody Allen’s hero waits for the midnight bell to toll).
Following Hemingway's path, we will continue our walk downhill, past the academic center of the city around the Sorbonne and towards the site of Sylvia Beach’s original Shakespeare & Company bookshop. A hub of Parisian literary life between the two World Wars, Beach's shop famously published James Joyce’s Ulysses for the first time in 1922. We may discuss Hemingway's friendship with Joyce, one of the many literary expats whom Hemingway knew and admired. In the area, we will also pass by some of the residences and other favorite haunts of the Fitzgeralds, Ezra Pound, or Ford Madox Ford.
"[Our docent had] a deep knowledge of Paris during the period that the Lost Generation was creating their mark on the world. We had a delightful tour and thoroughly enjoyed our morning learning about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, and their lives on the Left Bank."
Crossing the Luxembourg Gardens, as Hemingway did on so many occasions, and time-permitting, we may make our way towards the infamous quartier
Montparnasse. He would later establish his second home close to Montparnasse. The neighborhood was another hub of artistic life in the 1920s, with its many famous literary cafés
all patronized by “Hem." Entering the café-lined streets, we will discuss the role of café life during the twenties, stopping to experience it for ourselves. Our walk may come to a close with a well-earned coffee at perhaps one of the most emblematic cafés of them all, the Closerie des Lilas
. Here, we will take a moment to reflect upon the insights we have gained on our journey through literary Paris with Hemingway as our guide. We will emerge from the experience with a better understanding of Paris as a unique place at a particular time in history—home of the “lost generation.”
Note, those interested in the Modernist movement in Paris may want to couple this tour with our Pompidou Center Tour
. The center is one of Paris' best collections of modern art.
Will I need to have read any of Hemingway's work to enjoy this tour? While we encourage you to read the work of Hemingway and the other lost generation writers, this is not a pre-requisite for taking and enjoying this tour. Even if you are not familiar with his writings, join us to be inspired and foster a newfound appreciation!
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? We do cover extensive territory on this seminar. Please contact us with any questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you, and can also design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility concerns.