A Parisian Soirée ~ Simply Irresistible

The lovely Anita from Castles, Crowns and Cottages is once again hosting a Parisian soirée to the City of Light.  One of my favourite things about Paris is the literary side.
It’s a city full of culture and history with so much to explore.  For centuries, Paris was the destination of some of the world’s finest writers, poets and artists.  No city has attracted such literary talent, from the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, as Paris. 
photo via me
With 900 bookstores, 240 secondhand booksellers and 69 public libraries, the city has a string of celebrated café littéraires.  You will find tattered books in Shakespeare and Co bookstore, located only a stone’s throw from the l’Ile Saint-Louis.  The original Shakespeare and Co, opening it’s doors on rue de l’Odéon in 1919, was forced to close its doors when owner, Silvia Beach, refused to sell the last copy of James Joyce’s book, Finnegans Wake, to a Nazi officer.  Moving to its present location in 1951, the bookstore initially published Joyce’s book Ulysses in 1922.  While books such as Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned around the world, readers can buy and borrow these books from the bookstore.  
Each book purchased here is stamped with the insignia of Shakespeare & Co with the caption “Kilometre Zero, Paris” underneath {street numbers in Paris begin at the Notre Dame, also known as Kilometre Zero}.
photo via Fox News
The left bank, the most steeped in literary history, is where some of the world’s finest writers walked the streets along the River Seine, stared at the La Tour Eiffel under the stars and ate at the same cafe’s as you and I.  On St-Germain-des-Pres, next to the popular Café de Flore, you can sit a table that may have hosted discussions between Fitzgerald and Hemingway. They walked the neighbourhoods of Quartier Latin, St-Germain-des-Prés and Montparnasse, where literary walking tours are offered today.
Ernest and Hadley Hemingway at a cafe with Lady Duff Twysden and others
“If you’re lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.” ~
opening to Hemmingway’s A Movable Feast.  A soft memoir of the years he spent as a expatriate in Paris during the 1920s.

source unknown

Cafe de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés ~ the favourite rendezvous of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Brasserie Lipp,  151 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés ~ A favourite brasserie of Hemingway, as wells as other authors, artists, philosophers and politicians of Paris.

Les Deux Magots, 6 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés ~ was the place to be, and not only Hemingway sat here for hours to write and to chat with the likes of Simone de Beauvoir.  It’s other notable patrons include Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, Andre Malraux and Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

Panthéon, ~ originally a church, the Panthéon is full of history, mainly dedicated to the French Revolution. In the Crypt you can find many of French’s great heroes from the French Revolution as well as some of France’s greatest writers including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas.

I’m just starting to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  Have you read it?  It’s a story about Hemingway and his wife, Hadley.  With school, this book sat on a shelf waiting to be picked up.

A few other books ~

Jessica Powell’s book Literary Paris: A Guide ~ Powell has paired legendary authors with the addresses and monuments in Paris which figured largely in their lives and writings.

Literary Paris by Jeffrey F Kraft ~ a charming book of photographs and quotes from famous authors.

Literary Cafes of Paris by Noel Riley Fitch ~ a gem of a guide to literary cafes and famous authors who frequented them.

What I wouldn’t give to live in Paris during this time, just for a short while, just like Owen Wilson’s character in Woody Allen’s nostalgic film, Midnight in Paris.  Wilson’s character wistfully yearns for a distant past, specifically Paris during the 1920’s with Hemingway, Picasso and the Fitzgeralds.

Other books to consider ~ “Everybody Was So Young,” the book about Gerald and Sara Murphy by Amanda Vail.   Fitzgerald was quoted as saying that the Murphys were the inspiration for Dick and Nicole Diver in “Tender is the Night”.
I could go on and on…  What are some of your favourites books on Paris?
Wishing you a most beautiful weekend!  xoxo, B

39 thoughts on “A Parisian Soirée ~ Simply Irresistible

  1. YONKS says:

    I love your literary Paris. I too want to read The Paris Wife. I was listening to excerpts on the radio recently and it intrigued me. I have learnt so much from your interesting post.

    Now following on blogloving! Great to meet you at Anita's party!
    Have a great weekend in Paris 🙂


  2. hi-d says:

    Wow!!! You shared so much history. This was such an interesting post to read. Thanks so much for sharing and for stopping by my place as well!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Heidi (hi-d's place)


  3. catkin tales says:

    i knew that paris had a very exciting literary history, but today i have discovering some wonderful and intriguing snippets i did not know, thank you so much for that. you have found some of the most exquisite photographs too, a thoroughly enjoyable post. such a happy find, first thing on a saturday morning 🙂

    wishing you a joyous weekend xx

    i shall visit your blog again.


  4. Castles Crowns and Cottages says:

    WOW. Dear B., you have taken ME on a back ally tour where I find the most intriguing things in Paris. IMAGINE the history that is tucked away in these bookstores and books? The cafés alone must speak ghostly memoires of the famous people who hung out there, mused, disputed and discussed their passions. THANK YOU for the generous recommendations you have listed here. THIS IS WHAT I ENVISIONED THIS PARTY TO BE: An array of diverse views of Paris from art to fashion, history and cuisine, passion to architecture…..MERCI MILLE FOIS and thank you for your compliment on my photos! I RAN OUT to take that pic before it started to rain and I have on NO MAKE UP!!!!!!! My eyes came out closed in one of the very few pics that were decent so I just used the caption, “NOW CLOSE YOUR EYES” teeeeheee…gotta be creative when you are in a pickle!

    BISOUS! Anita


  5. It's me says:

    Welcome in Paris darling…nice to met you here….what a great party this is !!…love Anita…..she is such a great friend for all of us…..happy week enjoy your time here….xxxx..


  6. Dawne Boynton Polis says:

    Bonjour B!!
    What a lovely and informative post!! I was actually going to do one similar, as I love reading about Paris and France, but time got away from me, and I have a gazillion pix, so that is what I did! But I love to read about Literary Paris. I think Sartre would have a fit if he knew that a glass of “cheap” wine now costs 20 Euros at les Deux Magots!!!I recently finished a wonderful compilation of essays called “Paris was Ours”, which I highly recommend, and also am finishing the 5th Commissaire Adamsberg mystery by Fred Vargas! I love her writing!! Check them out on Amazon.


  7. Palomasea says:

    Bonjour! I see some beautiful familiar faces here, (including our treasured party hostess), and I thank you so much for visiting me.
    Wonderful to “meet” you…and to know that we are kindred spirits in our love for literary Paris as well as Goldfrapp! 🙂
    Fabulous post here, aaahhh…this is my kind of Paris. I actually shed a tear when Owen Wilson went back in time…it all felt so wonderful and familiar.
    Merci…enjoy la fete!
    – Irina


  8. The Shop Around the Corner says:

    Anita expressed it perfectly, an informative back tour. LOVED all the bits of history. The picture of Hemingway sitting at that cafe is priceless. He was SO handsome…yes, talented too. 😉
    Thank you for stopping by.
    Enjoy the rest of the tour.


  9. Draffin Bears says:

    Bonjour and so great to meet you at the Paris party and love all that you have shared here.
    The history is fascinating – we watched a documentary the other night of all the Artists living in Paris in the early 1900's and it was amazing.

    Happy weekend


  10. Sylvia says:

    I adore your literary Paris; everything here speaks to my heart!!! Mr.W. Allen’s City of Light in three separate decades is the Paris of my dreams…During my years at University, I tested my spirit of freedom and the quest for truth through the French Existentialist Literature (Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus). One of the contemporary french authors who I enjoy reading is Frédéric Beigbeder.
    Thank you for writing this post! Delighted to have enjoyed it through Anita's Parisian celebration.


  11. Barbara says:

    What a delight to read the literary view of Paris! I've been to all those restaurants and read all those books. The Murphy's are a big favorite with me…I did a post about them ages ago, and “juice of a few flowers.”
    Love your unique idea for Anita's party and LOVED meeting you. Such a perfect blog name too!


  12. kerrie of sea cottage says:

    I would most definetly love the bookstores. Midnight In Paris is a movie watched over and over in our home. I was even watching Le Divorce yesterday not because it's a great movie but just to see the setting~ Paris.


  13. Angelsdoor * Penny says:

    Bonjour, How nice to meet you at the Paris Party.. Such a lovely and informative post you have shared. I too, see many dear friends here..
    Thank you so much for visiting Bebe in Paris and your very kind words.
    Bonsoir, Penny


  14. Red Rose Alley says:

    It is nice to see the literary side of Paris. I haven't yet come across that in any of the lovely posts that I've visited. My daughter, Nel, would love this post with all the history, as she is working on her Ph.D. right now. I love the picture of the lady at the cafe. That is wonderful. It's so nice to meet new friends.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley


  15. Jackie says:

    By far my favorite post of all the Paris party posts. Loved all the information ((especially the literary bent) and will start stacking my “must reads” summer book list toute de suite. Thanks,


  16. lostpastremembered says:

    Wonderful post, I loved it. The Movable Feast quote is one of my favorites. Paris does stay with you. It inhabits a place in your heart that stays as young as the moment you first met… like a first love. Great photos too… thanks to ANita for the introduction…


  17. Denise says:

    Lovely to read your post filled with such great info.I could learn so much from all you lovely ladies that have such passion for Paris.Thank you for visiting My blog-Denise


  18. Virginia says:

    Oh I love love this post. Wonderful info and photographs. And as far as M. Hemingway's quote goes. I say that it might well be a “moveable feast” but I think it's best savored in person right there!

    Thanks for visiting my Paris blog and for your kind comments. I will add you to my blog list for sure!

    PS. MY favorite quote is” Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go to Paris! “


  19. Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns says:


    I am a great fan of Hemingway and love reading about his life in Paris.

    This is a beautiful post, Shakespear ans Co is one of my firs stops each time I visit Paris.

    Thank you for visiting my post at Pine cones and Acorns. Anita had introduced us all to so many like minded people.

    Have a great day, Elizabeth


  20. Kristin says:

    Nice to meet you and what a lovely Paris post. I want to go. I loved Midnight in Paris. It had so much Paris atmosphere!!! Have a great day!



  21. Anne says:

    Wonderful visit! Can't wait to get started on the suggested reading… hoping to go to Paris next year and you've definitely enhanced the anticipation!


  22. Loree says:

    What a lovely and interesting post. Next time I visit Paris I need to remember to go to Shakespeare and Co. I have heard so much about it and it has made me curious to see it in person.


  23. Maria says:

    The images you chose for this post are wonderful!
    Every one… starting with the keys of a typewriter! I remember how I felt over 35 years ago, sitting at my first outdoor café ~ it was so enchanting! So much of France, so much of Paris is for the heart and soul …
    Thank you for adding to the joy of this virtual visit there!
    *Happy Sunday to you*
    ~ Maria


  24. DolceDreams says:

    How I love this post! I love walking along the Seine, buying the old and tattered books from the sellers, and finding them a home in mine, wondering whose hands touched the pages before mine…I love any and all books on Paris, but partularly love the old photographers…
    Isn't Anita's party fun!I have been having such a fabulous trip…
    xo, Nathalie


  25. Jacqueline says:

    I just watched Midnight in Paris last month. the whole time I was reading your post I was thinking of that. What an amazing place – I can see why it inspires so many in so many artistic venues. What a fun party in Paris.


  26. Mimi says:

    BON JOUR!!|
    WHILE in PARIS in APRIl, my 5 friends and I rented an apartment in the St. Germaines area…..we dined one night at the Les Deux Magots restaurant!!!!!One of the places I really wanted to see…..and Feel…..Ernest Hemingway…….oh Feasts for the eyes!!!
    what a Great fun time I am having!!!


  27. Martina says:

    OH, my fave book about Paris by far is the one by Hemingway! I read it again and again during the years and always love it more. Would love to have seen Paris in this time! Thanks for your sweet visit . i'll follow you!


  28. The French Hutch says:

    I just adore this post. Memories flooding my mind from my trips to Shakespeare and Company, of old tattered books and the cozy little sofa bed where my husband and I sat with a stack of wonderful old books! Thanks for the tour through your photographs.

    The French Hutch


  29. Burlap Luxe says:

    Thank you for your beautiful visit, and thanking Anita for placing us all on this touring of Paris France 🙂
    Loving the history and the side streets of history filled with its own intriguing beauty, book shops, cafes and more.
    You have placed romance of France in my heart with all things French over here.
    Thank you for inspiring the history and beauty.

    Midnight in Paris


  30. High Heeled Life says:

    Mon Ami! you have captured so many delights of literary Paris!! On my last visit (Oct. 2011)with a girl friend – she let me indulge in a walk to Hemmingway's apartment .. where above a shop was a sign Hemmingway lived here… and we did linger at Les Deux Magots where we also had the opportunity to share tea with Mimi from Bonjour Romance blog.

    Elizabeth had booked an apartment in the Latin Quarter …and I have a few books with that very coveted stamp from Shakespeare & Co …

    I will definitely look into getting The Paris Wife ..sounds fabulous. And like Under the Tuscan Sun, ~ Midnight in Paris is a movie not to be missed!!

    You have sent me dreaming of a return trip to Paris …. it definitely captured my heart from the time I visited with Mr. G. in 2010.

    Wishing you a Bon nuit…xo C. (HHL)


  31. Ms. K @ Write On Thyme says:

    Oh mon Dieu, but I love your header! And what a lovely post. Loved “The Paris Wife”! Life with Ernest Hemingway from Hadley's perspective. Great book! Did you enjoy it? So very nice to meet you and thank you for stopping by my blog. Looking forward to more and so enjoying the Paris Party!
    Ciao, Kirsten


  32. EdenClare says:

    oh that was grand
    really wonderful
    all that literary
    book..i have many
    but i did adore
    French Dirt..the
    story of a garden
    in the south of
    France by Richard
    and sweet it was
    …happy, happy
    paris wishes!


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