Note: This is the third of three postings on Our Hemingway Walk, following Forever Paris by Christina Henry de Tessan. Click here to see Part One, our walk from our apartment on Rue de Condé to Stops #6 (Shakespeare & Co) and #7 (le Polidor). Click here to see Part Two, from Place Edmond-Rostand to Stop # 1 (the Hemingway apartment on Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine) and return. This posting covers Stops # 2 (Luxembourg Gardens) through # 5 (Gertrude Stein’s home) and ends at Stop # 8 (Brasserie Lipp).
Reinvigorated after our Japanese lunch, we walked back to Place Edmond-Rostand and entered Luxembourg Gardens to continue our Hemingway Walk.
Christina Henry de Tessan told us in Forever Paris to walk to the fountain in the center of the Gardens for our Stop # 2 in our walk and then turn left and walk southward out of the Gardens and down Avenue de l’Observatoire on the Paris Meridian all the way to where Boulevard Saint-Michel, Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Port Royal all converge at Place Port Royal before reaching our Stop # 3.
In A Moveable Feast Hemingway mentions that there were three reasons for his almost daily visits to the Gardens: Sometimes he would enter the east entrance and walk straight over to the west entrance on Rue de Fleurus where he would visit his friend Gertrude Stein. At other times he would make a beeline for the Luxembourg Museum in the northwest section of the Gardens just off Rue Vaugirard to be inspired by the great impressionist paintings, especially those by Cezanne. And then he says that sometimes he came to the Gardens just because there was no food anywhere between Rue Vaugirard and Boulevard Montparnasse and he wouldn’t be tempted to stop at a cafe and spend the money he didn’t have.
The path through the gardens led us through a wooded area filled with joyful guitar and accordion music accompanied by clapping and singing. Then we emerged from the trees to encounter half of Paris sunbathing on the extensive garden lawns.
We exited the Gardens and found more sunbathers along the Avenue de l’Observatoire. We had walked down this area before when we visited the Descartes University Pharmaceutical Studies campus on our genealogy quest to obtain information on our Bolduc ancestors. Soon we reached Stop # 3: La Closerie des Lilas, one of Hemingway’s favorite cafes during the period when he and Hadley and their son Jack were living nearby on 113 Rue Notre Dame des Champs, which was our Stop # 4.
Christina then had us walking up Rue d’Assas, more or less paralleling the western border of the Luxembourg Gardens until we reached Rue de Fleurus. Stop # 5 was Gertrude Stein’s residence at # 27 Rue de Fleurus. Hemingway and Miss Stein (as he always called her) were close friends for a couple of years and she helped him with his writings and also introduced him to her circle of artist friends which included Picasso, Man Ray and Dali. Hemingway hints in A Moveable Feast that their falling out was due mainly to his problem with her lesbian relationship with Alice B Toklas who is always referred to as her companion but never mentioned by name.
One of Man Ray’s most famous photos is his picture of Gertrude Stein’s parlor which came back to life in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Allen, by the way, won an Oscar for his screenplay. I think he should have received another for his brilliant casting of his 1920s characters. Kathy Bates makes a perfect Gertrude Stein. And Adrien Brody was superb as Salvador Dali, especially in his rhinoceros scene, one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
We then re-entered the Luxembourg Gardens and took a shortcut past the museum to one of the exits on Rue Vaugirard. Our original plan was to have dinner at another of Hemingway’s favorite haunts: Brasserie Lipp on Boulevard Saint-Germain, which was Stop #8 on Christina’s Hemingway Walk. We were tired, however, and decided to eat in that evening and so we left Christina and continued up Rue Vaugirard to Rue de Condé and our apartment.
In my previous posting on Part One of our Hemingway Walk I explained that we started our walk with Stops # 6 (Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company) and # 7 (le Polidor) because they were so close to our home. So we didn’t walk all the way from Stop # 5 to Stop # 6 but I found it interesting that Christina’s route for connecting those two dots was exactly the way Hemingway in A Moveable Feast describes how he got to Sylvia Beach’s place from the Luxembourg Museum: Rue Ferou to Rue Saint-Sulpice to Carrefour de l’Odéon to Rue de l’Odéon. Rue Farou also happens to be the street where Hemingway and his second wife Pauline chose to live during their short stint in Paris before moving to Florida. Their apartment was close to Saint Sulpice where they attended Mass regularly. Hemingway even converted to the Catholic faith prior to marrying Pauline in May 1927. Hadley had discovered that Ernest and Pauline were having an affair and divorced him in January 1927.
We finished our walk the next day when we dined at Brasserie Lipp. Christina Henry de Tessan finishes her description of her Hemingway Walk with Hemingway’s description in A Moveable Feast of his meal at the brasserie which consisted of potato salad, sausage and a cold beer. “Consider paying tribute to the writer,” she says “by doing the same.” So I did. My wife had the chicken instead.