Wednesday, June 03, 2009

La Rotonde

The next stop on our tour of Ernest Hemingway's 1920s Paris: the cafe La Rotonde. From his column in the Toronto Star Weekly, we know that Hemingway did not hold the cafe in the highest regard when he first arrived in Paris, suggesting that it was home to the "scum of Greenwich Village:"
It is a strange-acting and strange-looking breed that crowd the tables of the Cafe Rotonde. They have all striven so hard for a careless individuality of clothing that they have have achieved a sort of uniformity of eccentricity. A first look into the smoky, high-ceilinged, table-crammed interior of the Rotonde gives the same feeling that hits you as you step into the bird house at the zoo.
Later, perhaps, he blended in rather well with the eccentrics he described. But he still harbored some resentment for the cafe by the time he wrote The Sun Also Rises, having Jake Barnes, his protagonist, complain:
No matter what cafe in the Montparnasse you ask a taxi driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde.

La Rotonde



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