During the roaring twenties, Paris was considered the cultural capital of the Western world—artists and writers flocked to the city from far and wide, including celebrated American writer Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway loved to walk. His strolls provided him with moments of reflection but also connected him with his community, which we will experience together as we trace Hemingway’s path across the Left Bank. We’ll begin our walk not far from where the young writer and his new wife, Hadley, first set up home on rue Cardinal Lemoine. Here, we will set the tone, immersing ourselves in the life of the expat writers of the era. In the early 20th century, this was a working-class area of the Left Bank's Latin Quarter, close to the bustling rue Mouffetard, and tucked in behind the Panthéon and the Church of St. Etienne du Mont (upon the steps of which Woody Allen’s hero waits for the midnight bell to toll).
Crossing the Luxembourg gardens, as Hemingway did on so many occasions, we will make our way towards the infamous quartier Montparnasse. He would later establish his second home close to Montparnasse. The neighborhood was another hub of artistic life in the 1920s, with its many famous literary cafés all patronized by “Hem." Entering the café-lined streets, we will discuss the role of café life during the twenties—we'll even experience it for ourselves. Our walk will come to a close with a well-earned coffee at perhaps one of the most emblematic cafés of them all, the Closerie des Lilas. Here, we will take a moment to reflect upon the insights we have gained on our journey through literary Paris with Hemingway as our guide. We will emerge from the experience with a better understanding of Paris as a unique place at a particular time in history—home of the “lost generation.”