Home > Burke David, Literary Escapades, LITERATURE, Non Fiction, Personal Posts > Literary walk in Paris for my book pals

Literary walk in Paris for my book pals

I’m currently in Paris and thanks to Caroline’s review, I have Writers in Paris: Literary Lives in the City of Light by David Burke. I really enjoy this charming literary guidebook and I noted down some places I wanted to visit.

So today, I’ve been walking in the 5th Arrondissement on the traces of many literary ghosts. I took pictures with my phone, so they’re far from excellent – plus I’m a lousy photographer – but I wanted to thank each of my regular commenter by a personal photo.

For Caroline who made me discover that guidebook and many other books  and who steadily reads everything I write, here is Hemingway’s building Place de la Contrescarpe.

For Guy who also manfully reads all my posts, this is the N°30 rue Tournefort where Mme Vauquer had her Pension.

and also a cinema I believe you’d love to visit:

Do you think this bookseller inspired Laurence Cossé for her Novel Bookstore?

Max, look at this Proustian bookstore where you might love to go when you retire and eventually have all the time you want to read:

Leroy,  this is where Joyce wrote Ulysses.

As you might not be happy with the plaque telling he was a “British writer from Irish origin”, does this street name make up for it?

Sarah, I’m sure you were interested in the place where Joyce wrote Ulysses but here is the Rue Mouffetard, the street in the children’s tales by Pierre Gripari, La Sorcière de la rue Mouffetard. Unfortunately, they haven’t been translated into English.

Amateur Reader, there is a plaque to indicate that Retif de la Bretonne died here:

Litlove and Caroline, I’ve been to 11 rue Tuiller, where Rilke wrote the letters he sent to Lou Andreas Salomé and that will turn into The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Malte lives there too.

Sorry Himadri, despite my thorough walk in the neighbourhood, I couldn’t find the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Cie.

Richard, Borges stayed rue des Beaux Arts but it’s in the 6th Arrondissement.

I’ve had a lot of fun doing this. If anyone has been forgotten, sorry, it wasn’t on purpose. Many thanks again to all for your messages as it is still difficult and sometimes terribly frustrating to write in English, so encouragements through thought-provoking comments are much appreciated.

  1. August 19, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Wonderful! The whole post is wonderful. Paris is just so rich with this stuff.

    Just around the corner from that Hemingway plaque, for example, is a restaurant called “La Maison de Verlaine” – I ate there in 2005. Verlaine died in the building and Hemingway lived there or had an office there or something like that.


    • August 19, 2011 at 6:22 am

      Hemingway lived here.

      Now that you’ve seen where Verlaine died, you need to see where he was born. It’s in. .. Metz. There’s a plaque on the building. 🙂


  2. August 19, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Lovely pix, Emma–thanks for thinking of me and Borges in Paris!


  3. August 19, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Oh lovely, thanks a lot. I lived on Place de la Contrescarpe, as you know. David Burke just wrote me an e-mail, maybe you saw my post (I know you don’t read all of mine :)), anyway, he will start walking tours andthe video he sent me gives also a great impression of his book and Paris and the writers who lived there.


    • August 19, 2011 at 6:25 am

      I know you used to live there.
      I saw your post (I do read all of them) but I can’t watch the video until I get home due to slow internet connections.


  4. August 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Loely, thank you for sharing! If you ever get to London, do try Walking Literary London – we used this lovely book to do something similar on one of our trips, see http://wp.me/px0jJ-f


    • August 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Lisa.
      I’d love to do that in London too but I doubt Mr Emma would be thrilled by the idea.


  5. August 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Emma: yes that bookshop could very well be the physical embodiment of The Novel Bookstore. And thanks for the Madame Vacquer photo. I’d intended to make a Balzac my next classic read but I was shanghaied by Conrad’s The Duel.

    I saw a film last night– Queen to Play. It was set on Corsica and one home on the island was the sort of retreat I wouldn’t mind being banished to. I wondered if it was some historical landmark.


    • August 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      I’m going to La Maison de Balzac tomorrow. So, maybe more pictures to come.

      I missed that film. I don’t know where it is set in Corsica but this island is incredibly beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and I’d love to go there again. The coast is wild, the sea is deep blue, there are pretty beaches, nice towns and villages. You leave the coast from a few kilometers and you’re in the mountains with forests, springs, wild pigs. It’s unique.


      • August 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm

        I didn’t know the film was set in Corsica, and then as the film played out, I started to put two and two together. There’s a house (lived in by the Kevin Kline character) set in its own grounds–looks Napoleonic to me.But what do I know.


        • August 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

          Perhaps it is in Ajaccio, then. I tried to find out on French sites but I didn’t dig out the info. Sorry.
          The light is different in Corsica.


  6. leroyhunter
    August 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    What a great post! Thank you for that Emma, a really nice idea.

    That’s a funny sign for Joyce: I can only imagine that the person responsible for it was / is a merciless pedant.


    • August 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      I think we have an explanation of that sign in the article Seany linked in my post on Dubliners.


      • leroyhunter
        August 19, 2011 at 10:49 pm

        That’s what I meant by the reference to pedantry: of course, Joyce was a British subject by birth and remained so, but it’s a technical way to describe him. Would anyone call Robert Louis Stevenson or Dylan Thomas “British”? It’s just funny that’s what the sign writer decided on.


        • August 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

          Or say that Tagore was British. I understand


  7. leroyhunter
    August 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I just saw your update about Perec: I laughed!


    • August 20, 2011 at 6:29 am

      The only one reason why I haven’t abandoned it yet is that is less than 170 pages. I’ll probably soldier on but there’s going to be bullets in the review…


  8. August 20, 2011 at 7:29 am

    I feel confirmed… Regarding the Perec. I read it, closed it and forgot all about it…


  9. August 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you for the photo and for the entire post. I see lots of people using the word lovely, and they’re right because it is a lovely thought and series of photos.

    The Perec update made me laugh too I must admit. 170 pages and yet so dull that you struggle to finish. Oh dear. I look forward to the review.


    • August 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I’m glad you liked it.

      About Perec. I think I’ll finish it and try to give keys in the review for non-French readers as it is very rooted in French culture. (The passage about L’Express in particular.) At least, it will be an attempt to make something useful of that reading. Well, you’ll know that soon, as I think I saw it on your recent purchases list. I’ll be interested in your review.


  10. November 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Dear Emma, David Burke writing … I just this moment came across your “Literary Walk Around Paris” — delightful! I was in China on August 18, 2011, a six-week trip, and my access to the internet there was very limited. The pictures are good, not fancy, but very natural, and I love your little comments. I let out a whoop when I saw the James Joyce plaque — James Joyce as a Britisher, imagine that! (I can’t). That plaque is fairly new. There was only the one for Valery Larbaud when I was writing my book. I was just up there a couple of weeks ago, taking a little group of Australians around. Very enjoyable. I got a kick out of your and your readers’ comments too. People who love literature. Aren’t we wonderful? Have you seen my video on YouTube (made by my wife, very skillful lady!). I don’t have the link in front of me, but if you go to YouTube and type in “Woody’s Writers in Paris Redux” you will find it. Would it be okay with you if I put your “Literary Walk Around Paris” on my Writers in Paris Facebook group? Keep up the good work! I’ll be watching bookaroundthecorner now that I’ve found it. Best, David


    • November 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Dear David,

      Thank you for dropping by and for your kind comment. I took all the pictures with my phone, this entry wasn’t a project, it just came to me when I was walking. Your book is really great for lit lovers, I tried to find one in French but I couldn’t.
      I’ll have a look at the video, thanks for the tip and of course you can add me on your Facebook group!




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