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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (first day)

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Hemingway's passport.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureOur hotel is in the heart of Montparnasse where Hemingway sites are as frequent as the trees on the street. Almost anywhere Ernest blew his nose qualifies for a mention in one or other of the guidebooks.

I decide this first morning to take an early orientation course, a Hemingway trail of my own. Trying to plan it on a map is like one of those children’s puzzles where you have to join up the dots to make a donkey so I give that up and simply turn right out of the hotel and head for the nearest breakfast.

This being Paris, the first place of refreshment is about twenty yards away.

Disconcertingly though, it’s Italian. Even more disconcertingly it’s called the Auberge de Venise, and its walls are decorated with gondolas and palazzos and views of the Grand Canal. I half expect to see Barone Franchetti lighting up on one of the balconies.

In fact this espresso-fragrant establishment ties together Hemingway’s Venice and Hemingway’s Paris rather neatly, for this was once the Dingo Bar, and it was here that Ernest first met Scott Fitzgerald.

He had come into the Dingo Bar in the Rue Delambre where I was sitting with some completely worthless characters, had introduced himself and introduced a tall pleasant man who was with him as Dunc Chaplin, the famous pitcher. I had not followed Princeton baseball and had never heard of Dunc Chaplin but he was extraordinarily nice, unworried, relaxed and friendly and I much preferred him to Scott. (A Moveable Feast)

I dip my biscuit into the cappuccino and shut my eyes and try to engineer some psychic link-up between myself and two of the most celebrated American authors of the century - and Dunc, of course - but all I get is the bronchial roar of the coffee machine and a request to move up as the place is getting busy and I’ve been here twenty minutes.

Other ghosts linger in the Auberge de Venise a.k.a. the Dingo Bar. Hemingway used to drink here with an English aristocrat called Lady Duff Twysden (born Dorothy Smurthwaite) and her lover Pat Guthrie. They became his models for Brett Ashley, one of the best, least sentimental of Hemingway’s female creations, and Mike Campbell in The Sun Also Rises. Maybe these were the worthless characters he was referring to.
Paris, France 
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The Lost Generation: Hemingway and the circle of ex-pat friends he later immortalised in The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway, Harold Loeb, Lady Duff Twysden; Hadley, Don Stewart and Pat Guthrie.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (first day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 74

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