I checked something new off of the bucket list today. I visited the place where Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley lived from 1922 to 1923. Immortalized in the book A Moveable Feast, which has also been my favorite book for quite some time now, the third floor at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine is unsuspecting and almost hard to miss if not for the sign above it. Our apartment in the Latin Quarter is a mere 11 minutes away, according to Google maps. We reached it in under 10, in part because I was speed walking to get there.
I brought the book with me to read on the plane, trying to memorize the turns and walkways that Hemingway himself used to take when he lived here. We didn’t have enough time to go to the Place Contrescarpe or the Jardin du Luxembourg today, but that’s next on my list of Hemingway’s Haunts while I’m here in Paris. Our apartment, located near the La Parisienne patisserie on the rue St. Germaine, is almost a simple straight shot to 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine. We took only two turns to get there, and this morning the walkways were mostly clear and it smelled like fresh air.
Hemingway’s place is marked by a big blue door with a gold handle, and a sign above it that says “74.” There’s also a sign that says “Under Hemingway’s” right above the store next door. I didn’t even pay attention to it though, because as we walked up to his former home I had to hold back a few tears.
As we were taking photographs and admiring the big blue door, a man walked out of the building. We didn’t get to go inside or anything, but apparently people still live there. “I’m not him,” the man said as he walked out and away with a laugh. ‘No, you’re certainly not,’ I thought, but I laughed with him anyway.
The title of A Moveable Feast is best described by Hemingway himself, and I don’t think I ever really fully understood it until I came here. “If you are 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 moveable feast.”
My teammates and I were talking about travel today and one of them was recalling her trip to Florence, Italy last year…about how it was like a magnet, and how she’ll always want to go back. That’s how I felt about my time in Brazil, and even my trips to Greece and Italy a few years ago. That wanderlust really stays with you, and when you find a city you truly love, a people and culture that you truly love, it always stays with you close to heart. That’s the beauty of Paris, of Hemingway’s moveable feast…wherever you go, you can never forget it. I feel so lucky for all of the travel experiences I’ve gotten to enjoy throughout my short 24 years, and how everything in my life has led up to this moment now, writing this blog post in the heart of Hemingway’s Paris, the Latin Quarter.
It’s late here now and I have to go to sleep, because tomorrow we are filming an interview. But I will leave this post on another favorite quote from A Moveable Feast, and say to all of you au revior until next time!
“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” -Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.