The most interesting literary haunts in Paris

photo by Jez

Paris has long been an inspiration for countless writers, both French and foreign for their work. Paris is a literary city in every sense of the word: it was the setting for many literary masterpieces, and it has also been an artist’s city where writers and poets have come to find their muses and to pen their oeuvres. If you visit Paris, you will chance upon many places where artists have spent time or have written about, and many of these venues are celebrated for this. Sip a cup of cafe au lait in one of these venues, take a walk around some of the most interesting literary haunts in Paris, maybe meet some up and coming artists and why not, write something yourself.

Maison de Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges

The famous writers of Les Miserables and other wonderful classic novels, Victor Hugo, lived and wrote in Paris, and his former home has been converted into a free museum. The house itself dates back to 1605, so it is a masterpiece in itself, but the fact that it has been turned into an exhibition dedicated to the writer makes it even more worthwhile to see.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise is the biggest cemetery in Paris, and one of the most interesting literary haunts in Paris to boot. Several rock starts including Jim Morrison are buried here, but literature afficionados might want to pay their homages at the tombs of important literary figures like Oscar Wilde, Balzac, or Proust.

Pavillon des Lettres Hotel, Rue de Saussais

If you need a place to stay where literature is revered, then you should try the Pavillon des Lettres Hotel, where you can stay in a room named after your favorite writer. Each of the hotel’s 26 rooms were named after an author, running from A (Andersen) to Z (Zola). Of course, you’ll find books of the author on the table near your bed.

Culture Rapide, Belleville

This Belleville cafe is a self-titled maison des poètes, a poets’ home, where you can listen to poetry slams, poetry readings (on Monday evening it’s English language poetry reading) and meet the young literary of Paris. You don’t have to contribute to the literary atmosphere (although that’s encouraged), and you’re more than welcome to watch and enjoy.

Le Procope, Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie

Le Procope is hailed as the oldest cafe in Paris in continuous operation, and a place that’s ripe with literary references and famous patrons who made a name for themselves in the world of literature. In the 18th century it was a theatrical cafe where Rousseau was a patron, and later on other writers joined the list: Voltaire, Hugo, Balzac and Zola, Alfred de Musset, George Sand and others.

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