Ernest Hemingway’s 5 Favourite Haunts in Paris and Madrid

To many, Nobel Prize in Literature recipient Ernest Hemingway, author of such classics as The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea, was a literary giant whose ‘iceberg theory’ proved to be a tour de force in the world of letters. However, any literature enthusiast would tell you that Hemingway’s life was not just defined by his literary achievements.

Throughout his life, Hemingway hopped on from one place to another, whether it was to cover a war or to have a gala time in Paris’ cafes or witness the thrill of bullfighting in early 20th century. In that process, he also dabbled in travel writing, and thus, works such as Death in the Afternoon and A Moveable Feast were born, wherein he talked extensively about his experiences in Spain and France respectively.

Here’s a look at five of the places in Paris and Madrid that Hemingway had lifelong love affairs with:

Hemingway’s Love – The Ritz Paris

Widely considered as one of the top luxury hotels in the world, Ritz was established in 1898 by the Swiss hotelier César Ritz. The hotel was among the first European hotels to treat guests with an en suite bathroom and a telephone (and electricity to make it run, which was a big deal for its time) for each room. In a short span of time, the hotel became a hallmark for luxury and attracted a clientele that attracted reputed people from all sorts of fields. Coco Chanel as well as Hemingway have suites named after them in this iconic hotel, and the cocktail lounge Bar Hemingway is also named after him, who often used to drink at the same bar with his dear friend and another iconic American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Hemingway once said, “When in Paris the only reason not to stay at the Ritz is if you can’t afford it”. He has also been quoted as saying “When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz”. It is his love for the Ritz that lead him to gather a group of resistance fighters on 25th August 1944 and mount a liberation of the Ritz’s bar. The Nazis had left by then and the victorious Hemingway celebrated by running up a tab of 51 dry martinis. He spent the next few days at the hotel and Charles Ritz ensured Hemingway had one of the best rooms overlooking the Place Vendome.

The rooms of Hôtel Ritz overlook Place Vendôme and the hotel’s garden. The palace and the square are classical architecture masterpieces that belong to the Louis XIV era. In 2012, the hotel closed its doors for a major renovation project. Many people at that time claimed that it was done because France had introduced a category of hotels even above the 5 star ones – The Palace Hotel. However, Ritz wasn’t included in it for some reason. It should be noted that this is only speculation and should be taken with a pinch of salt. Special attention was paid to recreate the original 1800s décor of the place. The hotel was then finally reopened in 2016.