Claudine Hemingway shared her secret hidden corners of Paris with me
Guest: Claudine Hemingway
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I have been following Claudine Hemingway on Instagram for quite some time. The way she portrays Paris and connects the Insta viewer to our favourite destination prompted me to reach out and ask if she would be happy to chat. As Claudine cannot get enough of Paris and France she was more than happy to spend some time daydreaming together about the place that feels like our home away from home!
So clearly for any Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles listener, hearing the name Hemingway will immediately conjure an image of acclaimed author Ernest Hemingway, and probably also his links to Paris. Claudine is a descendant of the famous writer and has such a strong connection to Paris just as he did!
Hemingway’s Parisian life was depicted somewhat in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. His current legendary status in Paris continues with the Shakespeare & Co bookstore on the Rive Gauche. It’s one of my favourite places to wile away some time in Paris but is not the original site for the store. Regardless of that I feel quite at home there right next to the river and opposite Notre Dame.
Now back to Claudine… I have listened to her on Krystal Kenney’s terrific podcast “La Vie Creative” where she is a regular correspondent with her “History With a Hemingway” chats. I am constantly fascinated by the French history surrounding me as I wander in towns in France and Paris as well. I can easily imagine people living through different periods in recent and older history as so much of the way they lived has been preserved with the buildings and even some customs and food. Listening to Claudine chat with me in this episode transported me beautifully to both France and to a Paris of another space and time a little as well.
I read in one of Claudine’s recent Insta posts a quote from Gertrude Stein “America is my country but Paris is my home”. That quote resonates with me completely, as whenever I arrive in Paris I always feel I can finally breathe out, as if I’ve been holding my breath until I return home, but I’ve never lived there! Claudine gave a brilliant recommendation for a couple of restaurants in Paris. Le Fumoir near the Louvre and L’Avant Comptoir de la Terre on the Left Bank.
History with a Hemingway… woman.
Claudine often discusses notable French women giving wonderful accounts of their lives and legacies. It’s wonderful reading when she does this on Insta for a quick dip into history during a busy day and leads me to daydream for ages afterwards about the particular Claudine has just shared. I was interested to hear of Claudine’s choice of most fascinating or exceptional woman in French history. I was thrilled to hear her suggest a woman who wasn’t born wealthy or to an influential family. Not someone who purposefully made a name for herself. But rather an ordinary person, who had the courage to do extraordinary things in an unprecedented time.
Rose Valland was an art historian, a member of the French Resistance, and one of the most decorated women in French history. She secretly recorded details of the Nazi plundering of National French and private Jewish-owned art from France and, working with the French Resistance, she saved thousands of works of art risking her life in the process.