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The hotel's artists

Saint-Germain-des-Près has always attracted intellectuals and artists, from Saint-Exupéry to André Gide, from the surrealists to Alberto Moravia, from Vian to Sagan, and from Hemingway to Gainsbourg.

Amongst all these stars the Hotel de la rue de Lille has chosen 15 about whom it is passionate. Each one "occupies" a room or suite of the hotel which is dedicated to them. You are invited to find out more about the personalities who are the roots of the fame of this part of Paris through their works, and through the objects, furniture, and photographs that we have chosen to represent them.

In this way they will become the most famous guides ever to help you discover or rediscover all the great places to go in Paris.

François Truffaut

A single child with a troubled background, he quickly abandoned school for his true passion: the cinema.

He became a film critic, thanks to André Bazin, the co-founder of "Cahiers du Cinéma" and then went on to become a director who is famous for being one of the founders of the New Wave, an aesthetic movement of the 60s and 70s.

He directed numerous films, both very innovative, such as "400 Blows" in 1959 and very traditional, such as "The Last Metro" in 1980.

Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano was born in July 1945. Quickly left to his own devices, he had a very close relationship with his younger brother, Rudy, who died at the age of 10. This disaster haunted his work.

He became a writer as soon as he had finished his baccalauréat, after being introduced to the literary world by the writer Raymond Queneau.

From the publication of his first novel, "La Place de l’étoile", (which was about the occupation), in 1968, he was carrying out a search for his identity through a painful past, which he continued via a series of 20 novels and short story collections that were published by Gallimard. Patrick Modiano was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1978 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014.

Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras was born in Saigon in 1914 and died in Paris in 1996. She was a French film maker, novelist and script writer, whose writings have left their mark on the fictional genre.

She was a pioneer of the "nouveau roman", writing a series of novels in the 60s where formal elements were reduced to the minimum, the protagonists were elusive and plot was replaced by a succession of details, marked by silence, hesitation and the unspoken.

After writing scenarios and dialogues for the cinema she turned to directing her own films. Her greatest popular success was in 1984 when her book, "The Lover" (L'Amant) won the Prix Goncourt.

Juliette Gréco

After the second World War, Juliette Gréco discovered the intellectual and artistic thrill that was the Left Bank and rapidly became the muse of Saint-Germain-des-Près.

She was part of the existentialist poetry and philosophy movement which listened to jazz in the area's cellars. She sang songs written by Boris Vian and Jean-Paul Sartre, and fell in love with Miles Davis.

In the 60s she had the iconic lead role in a French television series called "Belphégor". This elegant woman, dressed in black, still sings the words of contemporary poets.

Françoise Sagan

Françoise Sagan (1935 -2004) was the author of 20 novels, plays and film scripts. Her career began very early, in 1954, when her first, and still her most famous, novel "Hello Sadness" (Bonjour Tristesse) was published.

Her private life was often subject to reports in the papers or the courts which painted her as "a charming little monster" leading a "Saganesque world" but she is best known for the nonchalant melancholy of the "everyday music" of her romantic novels with their rich, disillusioned bourgeois characters. She also co-wrote film dialogues and scenarios.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway est d'abord journaliste avant de prendre part à la Première Guerre mondiale en tant qu'ambulancier en Italie et d'y être blessé. Son goût pour l'aventure l'amènera par la suite à être correspondant de guerre pendant la guerre d'Espagne et durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Parallèlement à son métier de journaliste, il publie des ouvrages littéraires, romans et recueils de nouvelles écrits dans un style réaliste et direct, tels que In Our Time en 1925, L'Adieu aux armes en 1929, Pour qui sonne le glas en 1940 ou encore Le Vieil Homme et la Mer en 1952.

Henry Miller

Henry Valentine Miller was an American novelist and essayist. In 1924 he met his second wife, June, who became his muse. His works are largely autobiographical, mixing despair and ecstasy.

In 1930 he moved to Paris for 10 years, during which he wrote three novels "The Tropic of Cancer", "Black Spring" and "The Tropic of Capricorn" which were banned in the USA because they were deemed pornographic.

Fleeing the war, he was invited to Greece by Lawrence Durrell, and then went back to California where he lived in Pacific Palisades until his death in 1980.

Although his work was often considered to be scandalous it had a considerable influence on his contemporaries and especially on the Beat Generation writers.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis was an American composer and trumpet player (born Illinois, 1926 – died California, 1991), who is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of jazz.

He was a chameleon who was always changing and his name is associated with all the modern forms of jazz: bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz and jazz fusion.

His trumpet playing was characterised by enormous musical sensitivity and a smooth, delicate sound with the smokiness of a Harmon mute.

Raymond Queneau

Raymond Queneau (1903-1976) was a French novelist, poet and playwright who co-founded the Oulipo group. A star among modern writers, he is nonetheless difficult to classify.

His works veer from surrealism to "literature for a cause" to Nouveau Roman; without ever being identifiable as one or the other. His original style mixes mischievous fantasy and poetry.

In 1933 he published his first novel, "Witch Grass" (Le Chiendent) but the success of "Zazie in the Metro" (Zazie dans me Métro) in 1959 marked his originality, mixing caricature, a new use of language and malicious satire.

Jacques Prévert

In 1922, Prévert formed the Surrealist movement with Desnos, Aragon, Arthaud and their leader, André Breton. He left it in 1930 to found a theatre troupe called Octobre. His meeting with the musician Joseph Kosma would be an important point in his life.

Between 1935 and 1946, with his brother Pierre, he wrote poetic scripts for the cinema, such as "Port of Shadows" (Quai des brumes), "The Devil's Envoys" (Les visiteurs du soir), "Children of Paradis" ( Les enfants du paradis).

He wrote poems to be put to music for Juliette Gréco, Montand…When his book of poetry called "Paroles" appeared in 1945 it was immediately successful. Everyone knows his poems.

Boris Vian

Boris Vian (1920-1959) went to the École Centrale and became an engineer in 1942. He was passionate about jazz and became known as a trumpet player in the clubs of Saint-Germain-des-Près. He wrote hundreds of successful songs, articles about music, and a famously shocking novel called "I Shall Spit on Your Graves" (J'irai cracher sur vos tombes").

Vian was influenced by the existentialist movement, contributing to Sartre's journal "Modern Times" (Les Temps Modernes), and also, through his acquaintance with Alfred Jarry, in 'pataphysics. Boris Vian died of heart disease after having published numerous successful songs, poems, screenplays, short stories and novels, such as, "Froth on the Daydream" (L'Ecume des Jours) and "Heartsnatcher" (L'Arrache-Cœur).

Simone de Beauvoir et Jean-Paul Sartre

She: Simone de Beauvoir... A name that still sounds in our collective unconscious, because of "The Second Sex" her most famous work. This female philosopher quickly became a fervent defender of female rights. Politically active, and an ardent advocate of existentialism, she fought for women through her way of life as well as her work

He: Three years older than the woman he called Castor (the French for Beaver, which is very close to how her name is pronounced), Jean-Paul Sartre was also a philosopher, novelist and essayist. He was also deeply involved in the political struggles of his time and became one of the iconic figures of French thought in the 20th century.

Together: Beauvoir and Sartre shared more than 50 years of their lives and their thoughts, inspiring each other and working successfully together. Their leitmotif was "liberty" and the couple is as famous for the sexual adventures they both had as for their intellectual and emotional chemistry...

Louis Aragon

Louis Aragon (Paris 1897 - 1982) was a poet, novelist and journalist, well-known for his support of the French communist party. With André Breton, Paul Éluard, and Philippe Soupault he was one of the leaders of Parisian Dadaism and Surrealism.

His poetry was inspired by his love for his wife Elsa Triolet. Aragon was also a poet of the Nazi resistance, like Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard, and Jean Prévost. Since the end of the 1950s many of his poems have been set to music and sung (especially by Léo Ferré and Jean Ferrat) which has helped to make his work known to a larger audience.

It was only after the death of Elsa Triolet in 1970 that Aragon came out.

Albert Camus

Albert Camus (born1913, at Saint-Paul de Mondovi, Algeria, died 1960, at Villeblevin), was one of those writers who left his mark on the 20th century. He was a novelist, playwright, essayist, journalist and philosopher.

He is particularly well-known for his humanist ideas which were founded on his realisation of the absurdity of the human condition and his political opinions. In 1957 he was the 9th French man to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature.

He was killed in a road accident on 4th January 1960, along with Michel Gallimard, the nephew of the publisher, Gaston Gallimard. 

Serge Gainsbourg

In Gainsbourg (Paris 1928-1991), you can find everything. Poetry, humour, provocation, despair, love, sex, alcohol, women - beauty and the beast. Then there is jazz, the javanaise, reggae, rock, funk…He wanted to be a painter but became famous as a songwriter and composer, with songs like "Poinçonneur des Lilas" (the ticket puncher at Lilas station) and "Love on the Beat".

He began working with Brel and Gréco, then wrote songs for Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani, and, of course,Jane Birkin, with whom he had a daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, born in 1971.

For 10 years Jane and Serge were a couple whose every move was followed by the media. In the 1980s he created the character of "Gainsbarre", a tortured, badly shaven, alchoholic poet, to add yet another facet to his legend.