A little bit of gaiety.

After a meal, a drink… at one of the famous establishments on Boulevard de Montparnasse, La Coupole, Le Select, La Rotonde, Le Dôme (about all of which already a lot is to be said)…, 

... may I suggest a walk along Rue Delambre, and after crossing Boulevard Quinet, also along Rue de la Gaîté, the “gaiety street”?

Rue Delambres looks very “normal”. What is special and what can give you a specific feeling is what the street represents as memory of the artistic life in Paris, especially during the 1920’s and 30’s. You should know that this is where a lot of (later) world famous artists lived and worked during more or less longer periods, in hotels, which may have changed names, flats….

One, now Italian, restaurant used to be known as the “Dingo Bar”. This is where Ernest Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald (who had just published “The Great Gatsby”) met – by chance – for the first time in 1925. Here you can see what the place looks like today and compare with a photo with Hemingway and Zelda Fitzgerald at the entrance. Hemingway talks about this in his “A Moveable Feast”.

I once did a post about “Ernest Hemingway in Paris – A Moveable Feast”, but forgot to mention this place.

When crossing  Boulevard Quinet, you will see (top picture) a mural painting (from 1991, by Loren Munk), which illustrates for what the next street, Rue de la Gaîté, is famous. But first, it’s time to remember “The Wall of the Farmers General”, which stood on this boulevard until 1860 and  separated Paris from the suburbs until they were incorporated in 1860 … and where taxes had to be paid. (If you go to this post, you will also find links to other posts about this wall.) As all around Paris, this meant that just outside the wall you could eat and especially drink “tax free”. This is a reason why Rue de la Gaîté has a long history for different types of “entertainment”.

Even if Rue de la Gaîté also at first looks quite “normal”…

… you will soon realize that it’s still a street full of bars, restaurants, theatres…. 

This is also where you since 1873 can find the music hall “Bobino”, with a today very modest entrance hidden by a hotel. “All” French artists have performed here, also some international ones.

Some of you may remember that I recently made a post about my meeting with the bestselling author Cara Black. As all the above has been about Montparnasse, I thought it was opportune to mention that her new book “Murder Below Montparnasse” will be published very soon. If you are interested, you can go here, possibly order a book (I have no commission) and, perhaps even more possibly, win a trip to Paris.      


Studio at the Farm said...

What wonderful and colorful history on those streets!
Thank you, Peter!

French Girl in Seattle said...

How fun, this stroll in the 14th arrondissement with you, Peter. So many talented people have haunted these streets, these cafes and theaters! This was definitely a very Parisian post! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Pierre BOYER said...

Que d'histoires !
Belle journée,


Cezar and Léia said...

Lots of subjects, colors, images...
Great post dear Peter!
Paris has always some different story to tell us!

claude said...

Le Dôme a été mon QG pendant une année quand j'avais 18 ans, La Coupole un peu moins car c'était plus cher. Le Dôme n'est plus ce qu'il a été. Je le préfèrais avant, il était plus près du peuple de Montparnasse, si je puis dire.
Je connais bien la rue Delambre. Ma Mémé disait qu'il y avait quelques femmes sur les trottoirs, si tu vois ce que je veux dire.
Je suis allée une seule fois à Bobino voir Félix Leclerc.

hpy said...

LA rue de la G porte bien son nom, même si cela ne se voit pas trop dans la journée. (A moins que ça n'ait changé...)

Starman said...

I once won an flight to Paris, but it was only for one, so I gave it away.

Catherine said...

love that opening mural and all the artistic connections around the area and the dingo bar...Greetings from Nice

Anonymous said...

"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, because Paris is a moveable feast."

Hemingway...a very lucky man indeed!
Thank you so much for this fantastic post!

Alain said...

Ma préférence va à la Coupole, peut-être parce qu'elle me rappelle les grandes brasseries Lyonnaises voisines de la gare de Perrache.

Jeanie said...

Hi, Peter -- I've been very ill and not looking at blogs lately, so I'm glad I read this one. Not only was it tons of fun but I'm also a Cara Black fan, having read most of her Aimee Leduc mysteries (which I've written about on my book blog, Chopsticks and String. I'm looking forward to jumping to your posts on her. But first, must scoll down to your next!

JoeinVegas said...

Lovely photos, and again an educational post. Thank you.

Parisbreakfasts said...

A perfect link for my post on Murder BELOW Montparnasse
I wish I'd read it yesterday when I was roaming around this area!!
quelle dommage

Michaël said...

It's a very good idea to put pictures of famous artists who lived and worked in this street next to the nowadays pictures. A good way to feel the history of a normal street. Congratulations !