After the lease at 5 Boulevard Raspail expired, French poet Valery Larbaud, who announced to France that James Joyce was a ‘genius’ of literature, offered James Joyce his apartment, rent-free, while he was on vacation. This was timely, and the Joyce family accepted the kind offer.
The Joyce family moved into the quiet, comfortable, and good-looking apartment at 71 Rue de Cardinal Lemoine in the 5th arrondissement – the Latin quarter.
Again, James Joyce loved the apartment and the area. It was close to the River Seine and the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the botanical garden – the Jardin des Plantes, with its small zoo. Around the corner was the ancient Lutetia Arena – the ruins of Roman-Gallo baths and stadium.
If Joyce turned left from Larbaud’s apartment, and continued straight for seven minutes, he would arrive at the Mouffetard market, a well-known street frequented by the American chef Julia Child, but not until she arrived in Paris with her husband Paul in 1948.
The twenty-two-year-old Ernest Hemingway lived a few steps from the apartment at 74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, but not when James Joyce lived on the street. Hemingway arrived afterwards (in January 1922), with his first wife, Hadley Richardson, soon after they married. He had not yet met James Joyce, nor Sylvia Beach. The apartment was small and cheap with no running water. He rented another room at nearby 39 Rue Descartes so that he could write.
While he was in this apartment, Sylvia Beach moved her bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, from 8 Rue Dupuytrens to larger premises at 12 Rue de l’Odéon, which was not far away. Lucia Joyce made friends with Beach’s new assistant, Myrsine Moschos, a girl her own age. She also made friends with Valery Larbaud’s two daughters.
James Joyce stayed here for four months from 1 June to 30 September 1921 when Valery Larbaud returned from his holiday abroad. During this time, he finished his novel Ulysses.
James Joyce Paris Residence: Number 4 out of 18.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls