One hundred years ago today, on 20 December 1921, the newlywed Hemingway’s arrived in Paris. After almost two weeks on the S.S. Leopoldina that left New York on December 8th the two finally arrived in the City of Light. Relying on Hadley and her eight years of French, the two found their way through day to day life. Friend and author Sherwood Anderson armed Hem with letters of introduction to other American expats and even made them a reservation at the Hotel Jacob et d’Angleterre on the Rue Jacob in Saint Germain-des-Près.
Filled with fellow Americans, the hotel fittingly sits on the same spot that Benjamin Franklin and John Adams worked on the Treaty of Paris in 1783 that would end the American Revolution. When Ernest and Hadley stayed it was just 12 francs a day and in a bit of disrepair. Holes in the staircase carpet that Hem would call “traps for drunk guests”, but the price was right. Today the staircase and the inner garden is still the same, although they have changed the carpet.
On those cold days of December the two would walk the streets of St Germain “arm through arm, peering into courts and stopping in front of little shop windows”. Dining almost nightly at the nearby Le Près aux Clercs on the corner of Rue Bonaparte and Rue Jacob, just steps from their hotel. They could get a fantastic meal for just 12 francs and dine like royalty..
Those next few months and years are the most documented of his life. The countless books change the facts or add in a bit of their own point of view. Listen to the newest episode of Paris History Avec a Hemingway on La Vie Creative Podcast to hear about these early days when everything was “poor and happy”.
More info and photos: https://www.claudinehemingway.com/paris-history-avec-a-hemingway-podcast-1
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