Home > 20th Century, Classics, French Literature, Literary Escapades, Personal Posts > Literary escapade : Hôtel Littéraire Le Swann – dedicated to Marcel Proust

Literary escapade : Hôtel Littéraire Le Swann – dedicated to Marcel Proust

This week I had the opportunity to stay at the Hôtel Littéraire Le Swann in Paris. It’s a literary hotel dedicated to Marcel Proust and in the neighborhood where Proust lived his whole life. The building itself brings you back in time:

Proust in on the façade and inside, the decoration is Proust-inspired, in the lobby, the staircase, the rooms and in the breakfast room. There’s a timeline to disclose Proust’s biography, the room card have a Proust jacket and quotes from In Search of Lost Time are printed on the walls.

The rooms are Proust inspired, each of them is named after a character of In Seach of Lost Time and marketing did its best to play on the Proust pattern. See here the bathroom door, the nightstand and the coffee corner.

They did not put cork-padded walls like in Marcel’s bedroom and I’m not sure you can send the staff on nightly errands Proust used to do with his faithful servant Céleste Albaret.

All this marketed décor could be a bit tacky if the hotel had stopped there, after staging a Proust atmosphere. The charming part is in the display tables full of Proust memorabilia. There are display cabinets and tables in the lobby, with letters written by Proust to his friends. The visitor can admire a dress made by Doucet, the famous dressmaker of Proust’s time.

Here’s a display dedicated to Céleste Albaret, who gave us a lot of details about Proust’s quotidian in her memoir. It’s her Rememberance of Things Past and it’s a lovely read. My billet about it is here.

I think it’s moving to see her letters, her pictures here, in a place that celebrates her master. She shared precious information with Proust’s readers and we should all be grateful that she decided to talk instead of taking her memories to her grave.

There’s also a marvelous map of Paris and the places Proust used to shop to or visit.

Each place comes with a caption, its location and whether it still exists or not. I could have stayed in front of it forever to imagine a literary walk to follow Proust and Céleste’s footsteps.

The lobby includes a library full of books by Proust or about Proust.

This hotel truly celebrates literature and goes beyond exploiting the “Proust trademark”, if such a thing exists in our world. After all, I was the only guest walking around, spending time by the displays and taking pictures of everything I could. I can’t be cynical about this place because I felt a genuine love for books and literature. I thought it was charming and I take any opportunity to promote literature and reading as a good thing. There are never too many reasons to praise books and authors.

If you’re in Paris one of these days and feel like checking out the lobby, the address is 11-15 rue de Constatinople, 75008 Paris. Meanwhile, you can see better photos on their website.

I wasn’t going to participate to July in Paris hosted by Tamara because, being French, I feel like I’m cheating. But this billet goes well with the event, so I’ll join in.

  1. July 6, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    What was the best thing you saw while there?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. July 6, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    I’m due in Paris in 20 months and counting down. So much to read, I can see I’ll be trying to take in Proust on the plane over (no I won’t, I’ll waste my time watching movies as usual).

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm

      Proust is not exactly a “Beach & Public Transport” book, I wouldn’t recommend it on the plane.
      There are easier French books to read on the plane. 🙂


  3. July 7, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Oh yes, I think a night there would be very nice indeed! Thanks for sharing Emma:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      It’s great. You don’t even have to stay there, just have a drink at the bar and look around.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. July 7, 2019 at 9:11 am

    This looks fabulous, what a find!


    • July 7, 2019 at 11:42 am

      It’s a concept Les hôtels littéraires. There are others too, for Vialatte, Flaubert, Rimbaud and Aymé.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. July 7, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    This looks amazing! Les hôtels littéraires is such a clever idea.


    • July 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      The Alexandre Vialatte was great too but I’ve never read Vialatte. So it was as important to me as visiting the Proust one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. July 7, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Ooooh, lovely! Thank you for sharing – I so want to visit!


  7. July 9, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for this post. I surely will check it out next time I’m in Paris, July or not. And I’ll be back here for more Proust posts as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 9, 2019 at 9:14 pm

      You’re welcome. Let me know if you went to this hotel and what you thought about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. August 6, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Reading about the great Hungarian and Francophile poet Endre Ady, I see he too stayed in this hotel, between 1904 and 1911 (presumably it wasn’t called Le Swann at the time). https://www.facebook.com/HotelLeSwann/posts/1914546451975776 What do you think are the chances they might have met?


    • August 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      I know he was there too, there’s a plaque in the hotel’s lobby.
      They might have met, I think Proust was still going out during those years. If they ran in the same circles they have probably met.


  1. July 31, 2019 at 9:30 am
  2. July 31, 2019 at 11:45 am
  3. August 4, 2019 at 3:57 pm
  4. December 30, 2019 at 9:59 pm

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