"the hotel where Verlain had died where I had a room on the top floor where I worked"

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) was a French poet.  He was born in Metz and moved to Paris in 1851. Highly influential to the Symbolist movement, Verlaine was elected France's 'Prince of Poets' in 1894. However, he is perhaps equally well-remembered for his later-life addictions to drugs and alcohol, his homosexuality (despite being married with a son), and the frequency with which he drank absinthe at the city's cafes.

Today, a Number 39 rue Descartes is marked as the building in which Hemingway took a garret room to develop his craft as a writer. In an excerpt from the Time Out Book of Paris Walks, Michael Palin notes: 'He climbed to the top floor, taking with him twigs and bundles of wood to start a fire on cold winter days, and wrote about North Michigan. He has been upstaged by Paul Verlaine, whose death in this same building in 1896 is commemorated by a large wall plaque, while Hemingway is inaccurately described on a sign squeezed in by the door as having lived here between 1921 and 1925.'

Rue Descartes
Creative Commons AttributionRue Descartes - Credit: Carles Tomás Martí