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Rue du Cardinal Lemoine
Rue Card-Lemoine-2
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRue Card-Lemoine-2 - Credit: FLLL

The rue du Cardinal Lemoine is where Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, took an apartment. Michael Reynolds highlights that Hemingway, 'whose first impressions of the Montparnasse artsy crowd was negative', spurned residences in the Luxembourg Gardens and Montparnasse: Perhaps because of Belloc's romantic descriptions of the Latin Quarter but partly because the price was right, Hemingway took, instead, a fourth-floor walk-up in the oldest part of the Left Bank: 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, just off the Place de la Contrescarpe. (Hemingway the Paris Years, p. 16).

'By then,' clarifies David Burke, 'he was already cultivating his diamond-in-the-rough persona, and it suited him to be living among real people, rather than the eggheads in the Latin Quarter or the expatriate phonies in Montparnasse.'

In Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure, he tells us: The look of the surrounding neighborhood which Hemingway brings to life in such scabrous detail in the first chapter of "A Moveable Feast" cannot have changed that much. The buildings have aged a little - they seem to be tipped back at a slant to the street, leaning towards each other at odd angles as if tired of standing upright, but they are the same buildings. Around the corner in rue Descartes there still stands the one-time hotel where a wall-plaque says Verlaine died and in which Hemingway took a garret room to write.

Michael Reynolds elaborates: No one who visited the Hemingways on Cardinal Lemoine quite understood why they lived as they did. The apartment was not convenient to a Metro shop; only the wandering green autobus gave transportation. It was in a working-class neighborhood without great charm or decent restaurants. From the blue collar bal musette at street level came accordion music and easy laughter from locals -- quaint perhaps but not always desirable. Their fourth-floor walk-up consisted of only two rooms with a tiny kitchen appended. The dining room was so small that when Hadley put her rented piano into it, the table had to be moved to the bedroom. (p. 16)