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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (second day)

Paris, France 
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The rue Mouffetard squeezes its way down through a morning market selling irresistably tempting delicacies, to the fountain and old church of Saint-Médard, where an hysteric sect called the Convulsionnaires once celebrated miracles.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureTurn along by the river to the Place Saint-Michel where Hemingway sat in a café and drank Rum St James, ‘smooth as a kitten’s chin’. He recollects finishing a story here, which made him feel ‘empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love’, after which he ordered a dozen oysters and a half-carafe of dry white wine to celebrate.

Today the square is full of an odd mixture of policemen and people in white lab coats chanting and bearing placards. I’m told it’s a mass protest by dentists.

Walking on, I pass L’Escorailles, the brasserie which used to be the famous Michaud’s, in whose toilets Scott Fitzgerald had shown Hemingway his penis, seeking reassurance because Zelda, his wife, had told him it was too small. No plaque on the wall to this effect, I notice.

Content myself with peering in the window as Hemingway and Hadley did the night they saw James Joyce and his family in there, tucking in, all speaking Italian.

Thirsty by now, I fetch up at an intimate little spot on the rue de l’Odéon by the name of the Dix Bar. The intimate peacefulness doesn’t last long as a group of enormous French rugby football supporters, well oiled by jugs of sangría, start belting out songs, as the French do at the drop of a hat. This reminds me that next to food, drink, writing and making love, Hemingway liked Paris most for its sports, both as participant and spectator.
Paris, France 
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Preparing oysters outside Bofinger, a classic Parisian brasserie.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (second day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 79

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