|Tourist Denise capturing some of the delights of Paris in 2004|
Now to my new weekly post. A bit late due to lethargy, problems with downloading photos and general lack of time.
I love the old jokes about people coming home from holidays and showing their photos while everyone sits around with glassy looks on their faces. I don't want to be that person inflicting boredom, but several of you have asked to see some pics and hear some stories about my recent travels, so I'm launching into a little travel-inspired series. When I'm feeling up to it I'll be posting much more on L'Aussie Travel and Pichets in Paris, but I'll be posting most Tuesdays or Wednesdays here on L'Aussie, with a more writerly slant to my recent trip. While I'm busy editing my novels I'll usually only be posting early in the week and on Fridays for Romantic Friday Writers (can't miss that!) Great writing practise. Please join us!
So let's get this tour started. You can leave any time you want, ha ha! But I hope you'll at least see a few pics you like or read something that will encourage you to leave a comment.
When you visit someplace marvellous for the first time, you're a tourist. Your visit is usually a frenzy of checking out the famous landmarks, monuments, museums, art galleries...it has to be done. Who could visit London and not see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey? Who could visit Berlin and not see the Brandenburg Gate? Who could visit Paris and not see, er, let me see, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee, the Seine, Sacre Coeur, Versailles, the Louvre, Notre Dame, St Chapelle, the bridges, the famous cafes..
|Sacre Coeur, atop Montmarte, always worth of a return visit|
We (husband and I) made our headquarters in this gorgeous little rustic hotel, Les Degres de Notre Dame. We were given the 'Romantic Room' so that was sweet. Large by Parisian standards, with even a sitting room, this room was a great base for our stay. It is on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter, across from Notre Dame and a stone's throw from Shakespeare and Company. Well, wasn't this a good start for a more literary focus?
|Shakespeare and Company, just a few streets away! Doing very nicely thanks they tell me!|
|Well, what would you choose? This one?|
|Or this one? Hmm, decisions...or should we just find a Maccas, more in Hemingway's price range?|
I love most of his work and I greatly admire his work ethic - writing from 5am - midday every day nearly without fail, always on the search for the 'one true sentence.' As Roland posted recently, Hemingway said, 'you write to rewrite.' He drew heavily from his life experiences and these were enhanced with large brush strokes in his novels, some recreated into film with a lot of input from Papa himself.
Hemingway speaks of the making of something 'truer than anything else' when we write. In his words: '...you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write.'
On a previous visit, I followed in the footsteps of some of my Parisian-based idols like Collette and Victor Hugo, and I did start walking up Hemingway's street, but just wasn't in the mood. This time I was.
|I checked out Victor Hugo's apartments again at the Place des Vosges. Still kept as a shrine to him. Then had coffee in the cafe Victor Hugo in the passages below his apartment.|
74 rue Cardinal Lemoine took on a mesmerising glow during my reading of Hemingway's novel. I wanted to see the apartment building he talks about so much. Where he shivered along with his wife Hedley as they were too poor for heating other than a few sticks. They had no private bathroom. No wonder Hemingway went to cafes to write! He was just too cold at home! So what were his writing habits? At this stage of his life he relied heavily on input from great writers like Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound, all living in Paris at the same time. After his morning spent writing, he'd meet up either casually or planned with one of the 'greats.' Remember he was in his twenties and hadn't yet written a novel. Of course he didn't always take the advice on his writing these luminaries offered; he was very sure about his own talents.
|A waiter snapped us drinking rhum babas at the Cafe de Flore in 2004, one of Hemingway's favourite writing places.|
I guess it felt steep when dressed in your overcoat, feeling full of whisky and rum and shivering with cold. Anyway, to the left we passed James Joyce's Paris home, quite an enclave and much grander than Hemingway's (Joyce had Ulysses under his belt), but we soldiered on right to the top, to the last number in rue Cardinal Lemoine, no 74.
|Knocking on Hemingway's door, but no-one's home|
He said he lived on the third floor so we had a conversation wondering which was actually his apartment and who lived in it now. Sadly there was no one to ask (turns out they were all having dinner in Place Contrascarpe just down from Hemingway's apartment.) Fittingly there is now a bookshop underneath. Hemingway would have liked that. He says in A Moveable Feast that he loved that apartment, he loved the view and its proximity to everything he needed - his friends, his cafes, his beloved Seine where he would people watch and imagine his stories. He always left his writing when he knew what would happen next so his subconscious could work on it.
We should all be so lucky to live in an apartment like he did while writing in Paris.