What bookworm wouldn’t drop everything for a chance to stroll past the very cafés where Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald met for cocktails? Or to locate the hotel where Oscar Wilde cleverly quipped from his death bead?
Get ready to travel back to a time when Paris was the muse for some of the most genius literary minds. Draw inspiration from the Left Bank’s quaint streets, café terraces, and romantic hum of Parisian life just like your idols did back in the day. You’re in for a treat because the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain district haven’t changed much at all, providing a glimpse into the glory days of great literature.
Meet outside the Hotel du Louvre, where you’ll be catapulted back to the time of Balzac and Voltaire. From here it’s on to Île de la Cité, where big names such as Anatole France found many of their inspirations. You’ll continue over to the Rive Gauche, the intellectual nerve center of Paris and the stomping grounds of Lost Generation personalities like Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. After visiting Oscar Wilde’s place of death, you’ll pass by the Beat Hotel—the famous hangout of Beat Generation writers such as William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Continuing on to the Odéon area you’ll see the address where Sylvia Beach founded a legendary bookstore and artistic paradise called Shakespeare and Company. This shop no longer exists, but the spirit of its regular customers like James Joyce, Paul Valéry, and André Gide still lingers in this cozy cave of literature.
Next will be the current Shakespeare and Company location, hailed by many visitors as their favorite bookshop in all of Europe. In this former medieval monastery, English-language books inhabit every nook and cranny. Your guide will recount the extraordinary history of this establishment and take you upstairs to discover its charming literary atmosphere. On your way out of the shop you’ll plunge into the worlds of Baudelaire and Flaubert as you follow the meandering streets to the Hôtel de Lauzun on the Île St. Louis. It’s inside this sumptuous structure where Baudelaire was moved to write L’Invitation au Voyage.
Complete the experience with a free coffee break in a typical Left Bank café, offering a chance to chat with your knowledgeable guide and share great novel recommendations.