Day One

The first writers who came to Paris stayed in the heart of the city, so the first places to visit begin in the center.

Start at the Place de la Concorde and take the first street across from the Jeu de Paume: rue St-Florentin.  There at number 13,  James Fenimore Cooper spent five months in 1830.  Writing well, he decided to stay longer in Paris and moved his family to the rue St-Dominique.

13, rue St-Florentin

At the rue St-Honoré, turn right, and the next street is the rue Cambon.  At number 29,  Henry James found an apartment in November 1875.  He lived here for two years while writing The American.

29, rue St-Honoré

Go back down rue Cambon to rue Mont-Thabor where at number 4,  Washington Irving  became the first of the American writers treated on this site to return to Paris after an earlier sojourn here in the summer of 1920.

4, rue Mont-Thabor

Follow the rue St-Honoré a little further.  At number 239,  Carson McCullers and her husband Reeves had an attic apartment beginning in December 1946.

239, rue St-Honoré

Backtrack until you reach the beautiful place Vendome, home of many of the world's most famous jewelers.  Wander north around the place until you leave it.  Turn right on the rue Danielle Casanova where Joel Barlow lived at number 7.

Barlow had come to Paris after the success of his poem "The Vision of Columbus" (1788) to convince the French to resettle in America, where land was extremely cheap--too cheap for his proffer to be true.  The French who followed his advice and left discovered there was no land, and Barlow feared for his life.  Later, however, the scandal was forgotten, and Barlow became a French citizen and stayed on in Paris.

Follow the street until you reach the avenue de l'Opéra.  On your left, you can see the magnificent Opéra Garnier.  But turn right and follow the street as it angles southeast back toward the Louvre.  Just before the end, you'll find the rue de l'Echelle.  At the Hotel Normandy,  Mark Twain , much too American ever to be an expatriate, much too skeptical ever to be awestruck by Europe, spent three months in 1879.

Hotel Normandy

Now cross the place André Malraux toward the Comédie Française and head northward along the rue de Richelieu.  You'll leave behind the tourists and the bustle for a monent.  After a pleasant ten-minute stroll, you'll see a hideous new building at number 89, which has replaced the Hotel York where Washington Irving stayed in 1823.

As the bustle starts to pick up again, just before the street ends, turn right on the rue St. Marc.  You'll cross the rue Vivienne and find a passageway called the Passages des Panoramas.  Now it's busy and trendy, but there on the side of the rue Vivienne, Ralph Waldo Emerson  had a room for much of 1832.

When you emerge from the passage, you'll be back in the world of tourists on the boulevard Montmartre with Paris' wax museum, the Musée Grevin, directly in front of you.

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