It says a lot about the city that its unofficial patron saint is a writer who was born in Oak Park, Illinois. “Such was the Paris of our youth, the days when we were very poor and very happy”, and so with his rich and wonderful memories collected in A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway wrote himself into Left Bank lore and joined the pantheon of Parisian greats along with Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marcel Proust and Jean-Paul Sartre. Hemingway lived with his wife Hadley at #74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine and his stories of genteel poverty drinking hot chocolate (and stronger) in and around Saint-Michel would become a benchmark for generations of writers to come. He met Ezra Pound at Sylvia Beach’s bookstore Shakespeare and Co. on the Rue de L’Odéon and was subsequently introduced to James Joyce and they became drinking buddies. However it is the Paris adventures and writing exchanges with F. Scott Fitzgerald that became legendary and their witty anecdotes from the time are still being re-told in bars and book clubs around the world. Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast towards the end of his career in Cuba in 1956 after rediscovering a trunk filled with notebooks he had left behind at the Hôtel du Ritz after the outbreak of the Second World War almost 20 years before. While the Ritz has named their landmark bar on the Place Vendôme after him, in a city that has monuments for many of its adopted artists, one wonders if it is perhaps time the city considered naming a small square or street after him? For now, we will have to make do with the modest plaque erected in his memory outside the building where he lived on the Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005.
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