Hemingway at La Closerie Des Lilas

La Closerie Des Lilas was one of Hemingway’s favorite cafe’s. He used to come there to write and didn’t like it when people would discover his hide out. The cafe is still there on the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Saint-Michel. The most inner part of the cafe still houses the original bar and the tables and seats around the bar all have name tags on them. You’ll not only find Hemingway, but also Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso. Unfortunately this is not the only bar trying to cash in on its former famous clientele. This in turn has spawned a trend in new bars that have tags attached to their bar and seats that read “Hemingway never sat here”.

La Closerie Des Lilas

Funny thing is that with today’s prices Hemingway could have never afford to drink in La Closerie Des Lilas. A beer is around 10 euro’s and it is a really small one at that too. Something Hemingway in my believe would have objected against knowing his favorable attitude towards beer.

La Closerie Des Lilas

Still La Closerie Des Lilas is worth paying a visit. True, you ‘ll get ripped off but you also get to experience a little of the ‘old days’, the days that Hemingway sat there and was working on one of his Nick Adams stories or maybe put the last words to The sun also rises.

La Closerie Des Lilas

Weird tip: While you are there don’t forget to pay the toilets a visit. One of the most beautiful toilets we have seen ever..

Fishing in the Pyrenees – on route to Pamplona’s San Fermin Festival

Hemingway loved fishing. No wonder he did find this river called the Irati high up in the Spanish Pyrenees. On his way to the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, (better known as “the running of the bulls”) he used to stop in the village of Burguete to stay in the local inn and would walk every day around 5 miles cross country to get to his favorite fishing spot in the little village of Aribe. Nowadays there is a decent road to Aribe and there is a hotel (ran by a local woman and her Italian husband). He did write a chapter in “The Sun Also Rises” about it all.

Los Banos - Aribe

From where the hotel is it takes you about 5 minutes walking along the river to get to “Los Banos“.  A bend in the river with the ruins of an old bathing-house looking over it. This was Hemingway’s favorite spot to fish for trout. The trout in the Irati river are a special sub species and are no normal brown or rainbow trout, but more colorful and they grow quite big.

Los Banos - The levy

Once done fishing, Hemingway would take the bus to Pamplona to celebrate the festival of San Fermin and run with the bulls. The road from Burguete to Pamplona falls from the high mountains to the plains (where Pamplona lies waiting) which makes it a spectacular trip with lots of great views (and lots of u-turns). It might have been 90 years gone by, but it is all still there…