On Loving and Visiting Literary Paris
by Writing Workshops Staff
6 months ago
Paris has long been a significant center for the arts, and in the 1900s, it was home to some of the most important literary scenes in the world.
In the early 1900s, Paris was a hotbed of artistic and intellectual activity, with writers and artists flocking to the city from all over Europe and the United States. This period, known as the "Belle Époque," saw the emergence of many important literary movements, including Symbolism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.
One of this period's most notable literary figures was the Irish writer James Joyce, who lived in Paris from 1920 to 1940. Joyce's experimental novel "Ulysses" was published in 1922, and its portrayal of a single day in the life of a Dubliner was groundbreaking in its use of stream-of-consciousness narrative.
Another important figure of the time was the American poet and novelist Gertrude Stein, who was a central figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Stein was known for her experimental writing style and salon, a gathering place for many of the city's leading artists and writers, including Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso.
As the 20th century progressed, Paris remained a hub for literary activity, with many influential writers and artists continuing to live and work in the city. In the 1950s and 60s, for example, the Beat Generation, a group of American writers and artists, was active in Paris, with figures such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs living and working in the city.
Today, Paris is still home to a thriving literary scene, with numerous bookstores, literary festivals, and writing workshops taking place throughout the city. In the 21st century, Paris has also become a major destination for writers from around the world, with many coming to the city to draw inspiration from its rich history and cultural heritage.
Overall, Paris has been an important center for literature for more than a century and continues to be a city that inspires and nurtures the creative spirit.
Notable Parisian Bookstores
Paris is also a city that is known for its love of books, and as a result, it is home to some of the most famous bookstores in the world. Here are just a few of the most notable bookstores that can be found in Paris:
- Shakespeare and Company - This iconic bookstore, located on the banks of the Seine, has been a fixture of the Parisian literary scene for over 100 years. Founded in 1919 by American expat Sylvia Beach, Shakespeare and Company became a gathering place for some of the most influential writers of the time, including Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. Today, the bookstore still maintains its literary spirit, with a wide selection of books, readings, and workshops.
- Galignani - Founded in 1801, Galignani is the oldest English-language bookstore in Paris. Located on the Rue de Rivoli, the store is known for its impressive English book collection and beautiful interior, which features a spiral staircase and a stained-glass dome.
- Le Livre de Poche - This is France's largest chain of bookstores, with over 200 locations throughout the country. The Parisian branch, located on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, is a popular destination for book lovers, with a wide selection of books in both French and English.
- La Hune - This independent bookstore, located on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, is known for its focus on art and design books. The store also features a café and a small exhibition space, making it a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon.
- La Librairie des Abbesses - This cozy bookstore, located in the Montmartre neighborhood, is known for its wide selection of French books and its beautiful interior, which features wood-paneled walls and a fireplace.
Whether you're looking for a new novel to read, or just want to experience the city's love of books, these bookstores are a great place to start.
Parisian Literary Festivals
Paris is a city known for its love of literature, and as a result, numerous literary festivals take place in the city each year. Here are just a few examples of contemporary literary festivals that can be found in Paris:
- Festival America - This festival, which takes place in Vincennes, just outside of Paris, is dedicated to showcasing contemporary American literature. The festival features readings, workshops, and discussions with some of the most influential writers from the United States.
- Paris Literary Prize - This annual literary prize is awarded to the best French novel by an author under the age of 40. The prize is given out during a ceremony at the Maison de la Poésie in Paris, and the winning author receives a cash prize of €10,000.
- Salon du Livre - This is one of the largest book fairs in France, and it takes place at the Porte de Versailles in Paris each year. The salon features hundreds of bookstores, as well as readings, workshops, and discussions with authors worldwide.
- Writing Workshops Paris - This annual workshop brings together fiction, nonfiction, and poetry writers for an intensive week of workshops, craft seminars, one-on-one conferences, and in-depth discussions on the craft and business of writing. Our program is inclusive, intentionally small, and takes place in the middle of Literary Paris, rich with history and inspiration.
- Le Printemps des Poètes - This annual festival is dedicated to poetry, and it takes place at various locations throughout Paris. The festival features readings, performances, and workshops with some of the most important poets of the day.
- Festival du Polar - This festival is dedicated to the crime fiction genre, and it takes place each year at the Maison de la Poésie in Paris. The festival features readings, discussions, and workshops with some of the world's most influential writers of crime fiction.
These literary festivals are just a few examples of the many events in Paris each year, all of which showcase the city's love of literature. Whether you're interested in contemporary American literature, French poetry, or crime fiction, a literary festival in Paris will pique your interest.