If you are a bookworm, love classical literature more than anything and dream of visiting the capital of France one day– pour yourself a cup of coffee and travel to Paris with us.
Michelle from Travel Ticker, a hotel search and booking engine, is excited to present you with the five spots in Paris that are not only beautiful to look at and walk around, but are also where you will find the ghosts of the Lost Generation Paris, a group of expat writers living in Paris right after WWI.
Sit down to sip on a cup of coffee where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out and pop into the backdrops of movies like Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris. This is the five must see Paris spots for all literati like you (and me too) looking for the Lost Generation Paris writers.
Table of Contents
Harry’s New York Bar
Finding a small oasis of something American in the middle of Paris might seem strange, but Harry’s New York Bar was one of the most beloved places for many Paris intellectuals. If you have always admired great French thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir – this bar is a Paris must see for you. These two occasionally met at the bar for a good chat over cocktails. Celebrities like Coco Chanel and Humphrey Bogart also loved to come by for a drink; maybe even enjoying a Bloody Mary or French 75, which were supposedly invented at Harry’s.
Shakespeare and Company
Of course! We can’t miss mentioning one of the most legendary bookstores in Paris that is regularly haunted by book lovers across the globe, as well as cinema fans thanks to Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris. The second, and present incarnation of Shakespeare and Company was opened in 1951. Since then it has been the number one spot for all English literature fans, and many famous authors as well, including Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg. The original bookshop, which opened in 1919 (closed during WWII), was also a hot meeting spot for literary giants of the Lost Generation Paris like Hemingway, TS Eliot, and Gertrude Stein.
La Closerie des Lilas
There was a period of time when Paris and Hemingway went together like croissants and coffee. Hemingway loved the cafe La Closerie des Lilas. According to a New York Times article, Hemingway finished his first draft of The Sun Also Rises at Lilas, and the cafe doesn’t forget their famous patron. There is a plaque on one of the bar stools with Hemingway’s name on it, and his face is on the menu. Located near Luxembourg Gardens (another Paris must see!), in the historical neighborhood of Montparnasse, this restaurant was loved by Hemingway because it was a quiet place to work when he just wanted to be left alone.
Place de la Contrescarpe
Place de la Contrescarpe was another popular spot you could find Parisian intellectuals and artists who thought of Paris as the capital city of culture. In the 19th century, it was a working-class district and home to Balzac and Victor Hugo – two of the most famous French authors. Hemingway loved this place so much, that one of his heroes in The Snows of Kilimanjaro speaks of the place with nostalgia and real love. James Joyce also lived here for a time while he finished his book Ulysses. Take a stroll through the neighborhood to get a small taste of what it was like in the 1920s when the Lost Generation Paris were slaving away, just trying to make their mark in the world through writing, with no idea what fame lay ahead of them.
Café de Flore
Last, but not least, is the Café de Flore. This café was one of the “headquarters” for the Lost Generation Paris, along with another iconic restaurant just around the corner – Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint-German. Both spots have drawn in painters (like Picasso), writers, celebrities and tourists since it opened in 1880s. Grab a table; these must see Paris stops might just inspire you to write your own masterpiece, or you can just guess at the exact spot where Hemingway and E.E. Cummings might have sat, discussed literature, the angst of post-WWI life, and enjoyed a drink together.
Many thanks to Michelle at Travel Ticker for sharing her top five must see Paris spots to visit when searching out the Lost Generation Paris. I was compensated for hosting this post. As always, the opinions of guest writers are their own, but I will never share something I wouldn’t write myself.
Photos via ShutterStock.com- Seine Book Stalls, Cafe de Flore, Shakespeare and Co. and autumn Eiffel Tower.
Paris Destination Guide
- Hotel Du Printemps: Gorgeous boutique hotel with free Wi-Fi, paid private parking, and a bar/lounge.
- B Montmartre Hotel: Close to the famous Moulin Rouge, this hotel features laundry service, airport transportation and free Wi-Fi.
- Novotel Paris Les Halles: Four star hotel in the center of Paris. This hotel features a children’s playground, nightclub (with DJ!), walking tours, and free Wi-Fi.
- Cozy Studio: Sleeps 2 guests in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
- Luxury Apartment in Heart of Paris: 2 guests in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
- Center of Paris Apartment: Sleeps 4 in 1 bedroom + 1 bath.
Paris Metro images via Flickr Dustin Gaffke and zoetnet
Eiffel Tower image by Keryn Means