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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (second day)

Paris, France 
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A street performer that would have reminded Hemingway of home.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureGet talking to a young American called Brian who, lured to Paris by the enduring Hemingway myth, gave up his job producing a TV chat show for NBC to become a writer. He’s been here a couple of months and so far Paris has exceeded his expectations. Art and aesthetics are acceptable terms here - not an afterthought, but a first thought, as he puts it. I agree. Where else in the world would you find a café marking its bills ‘rendezvous de l’élite intellectuelle’ as does the Deux Magots, or a country which, in the nineteen thirties, issued a special postage stamp in aid of The Unemployed Intellectuals Relief Fund.

‘You can do just about anything in Paris you can do elsewhere,’ he enthuses, ‘but somehow things tend to be more interesting here.’

We decide there must be a guided tour exploring the physical side of Hemingway’s Paris in what one biographer described as ‘the sport-crazy Twenties’. Brian agrees to make a few enquiries and work out a sort of Hemingwayathon later in the week.

On the way out of the Dix Bar, run slap bang into another ghost of Ernest. The shop next door, which sells cheap Chinese imports, was once Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore and library which became a regular hang-out for Hemingway. It was run by an American called Sylvia Beach, one of the very few people he never fell out with. ‘She had pretty legs and she was kind, cheerful and interested, and loved to make jokes and gossip. No one that I ever knew was nicer to me.’
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (second day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 80

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