Hemingway and his Era Come Alive in Paris

As I continue my travels here in Europe, I have yet to encounter a city as extensive as Paris; it truly is huge. That being said, I experienced a serendipitous moment that suddenly made the city feel smaller. I was finishing up my weekly reading of A Moveable Feast—our only reading in English this semester, though even in this exceptional case, we compared a few passages with those from a French translation—at a cafe nestled outside of the Luxembourg Gardens, when I glanced out the window to take in my surroundings and daydream. My eyes fell on the advertisement for the cafe across the street, La Closerie des Lilas.


La Closerie des Lilas

The name seemed oddly familiar, and after flipping back a few pages I saw that La Closerie des Lilas was a cafe that Hemingway not only frequented during his stay in Paris, but included in the very book I held. Of all places to be in Paris to be reading A Moveable Feast, I happened to be across the street from that cafe. It was an interesting coincidence that helped make the book feel as if it was partly my story too.

To read A Moveable Feast in Paris legitimizes the novel through the experience of place. To stand on the very street that Hemingway describes while gazing upon the very statute that he makes reference to makes one feel so much more a part of the book.


le Maréchal Ney devant la Closerie des Lilas

One can connect to his words not merely through Hemingway’s lense, but also through an intimacy that the reader develops through this interaction with the “Lost Generation’s” space.


dans la cour du 27, rue de Fleurus, devant l’ancien salon/atelier de Gertrude Stein

The story develops a layer through this, enhancing the literary experience by making it one’s own.

To celebrate homecoming weekend at quite a distance from Sewanee, Professor Poe orchestrated a Friday night dinner that brought together our current abroad cohort with Sewanee alumni living in Paris for a dinner at a Latin Quarter restaurant across the street from the first residence of Hemingway and his wife Hadley.


74, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, première adresse des Hemingway

Stories of Sewanee, living abroad, life after graduation, and a few bread baskets circulated among us, serving up a bit of a taste of Sewanee here in France. The night ended on a high note, leaving both alumni and students with a feeling of warm familiarity in this grand City of Light.

-Tess Steele


Prof. Poe, Ron Oman (C’98), Audrey Loirat (French assistant, 2001-02), Sylviane Poe (behind poster), Jacques et Carol Bossonney (C’82), Charlotte Puckette (C’82), notre ami belge Tanguy


Margaret Blackerby, Caroline Kerr, Katie Keith (C’15), Chris Cooper, Alex Cooper (C’15), Crystal Caviness (Kelly’s mother visiting), Kelly Caviness, Grace Dossett (C’16), Sophie Bore (en visite de Dublin), Sydney Peterson, Tess Steele (en tête)


Chris, Caroline et Breaux devant le château de Fontainebleau, dans des costumes du 18e siècle

Notre week-end en Normandie

1-affiche-au-musee-eugene-boudin-de-honfleurFrance is not simply Paris (contrary to popular belief at times), with the country offering a plethora of cultural and historical  sites at one’s disposal. France is bursting with rich history and perhaps even richer variety, and unlike the United States, these remarkable sites are often simply a train ride away. As my exploration of France continues, my appreciation for how culturally dense the nation is grows. Unlike the United States, there are distinct regions, many on the smaller side in comparison to the vastness of the States, all with developed and particular histories and dialects, regional specialities, and defined personalities. Having earlier travelled to Strasbourg as well as to Dijon and the Burgundy region, I was eager to likewise visit Normandy to develop a more holistic understanding of France and her many charms.

Last Saturday morning we departed from Paris’s Left Bank, and by late morning I felt worlds away from the captial. The Haussmannian streets, crowded cafes, and fast pulse of Paris was replaced by the tranquil and nostalgic nature of Honfleur, a coastal town in the Calvados region of France. We visited the Musée Eugène Boudin, a relatively small museum offering a delightful collection of paintings of nautical scenes; and then we strolled around the town in search of seafood, naturally.  As I enjoyed a bowl of mussels and a glass of wine, with a delightful sea breeze ridding me of any remnants of urban exhaustion, I couldn’t help but feel that I had entered one of the intimate scenes of Boudin.


visite d’une cidrerie dans le Calvados


Following our exploration of the town, we were treated to a cider and Calvados tasting (regional specialties) at a nearby distillery. While not necessarily the warm, spiced, and alcohol-free cider that I associate with autumn’s county fairs, orchards, and football games, this tasting was one of the more conventional fall activities I have participated in during my abroad experience.


Sur la plage de Deauville.

Following a quick excursion to the beach at Deauville, the day came to a close as we arrived at a quaint coastal town for the night, our lodging address being right on one of the D-Day beaches — where I luxuriated in a post-dinner stroll to the company of waves and sand between my toes, with Paris but a distant memory.

The beaming sun on Sunday morning, accompanied by a coastal wind and a rainbow that spanned the sky, provided a beautiful yet somber background to the American Cemetery at Colleville-sr-Mer. Visitors were sparse, providing ample time to observe and reflect on the significance of the cemetery.  Seeing the locations of such momentous events in human history transcends language and cultural differences, making the world a little bit smaller for an American in France.
-Tess Steele

Cimetière Américain à Colleville-sur-Mer.       


au Pointe du Hoc près d’Omaha Beach.


déjeuner gastronomique à Bayeux où nous avons vu la célèbre tapisserie.


musée du Mémorial (Seconde Guerre mondiale) à Caen.