Today, I’d like to welcome travel writer Katie O’Hara to Paris Month. This was a pleasant surprise, as I was contacted by Matt @ Rosetta when I was initially querying for people who might be interested in guest posting for Paris Month. And what a fitting topic for this blog!
Katie O’Hara is a travel writer and literature lover that contributes various posts to online news outlets and blogs.
A Book Lover’s Guide to Paris
Fans of literature can explore Paris from the eyes of their favorite authors as they follow the sights and sounds found in classic novels. You can explore a wide variety of famous literary scenes within walking distance from many Paris hotels, with additional destinations a short drive or train ride away.
Victor Hugo – The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Les Misérables
For anyone that’s read and loved Victor Hugo, no trip to Paris is complete with a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Published in 1831, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a novel featuring Quasimodo, a deformed hunchback bell-ringer of Notre Dame and Esmeralda, a beautiful, kind Gypsy. The cathedral is often considered the best example of French Gothic architecture with dramatic towers, gargoyles and stained glass windows. The cathedral is open to visitors and centrally located on the Ile de la Cite surrounded by the Seine River. If Les Misérables is your favorite Hugo novel, you can wander the same streets where the 17th century characters of Jean Valijean, Cosette and Marius walked and lived. There are several walking tours available that will highlight specific Les Misérables destinations.
Alexandre Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers
Though most of the story is set in Paris, to truly appreciate The Count of Monte Cristo, one must visit Château d’If, the prison where the main character Edmond was held for 14 years. Originally built as a fortress in the 16th century, the structure was turned into a prison until the late 19th century and then opened to the public. It’s located off the coast of Marseille, about a seven and a half hour drive from Paris. If the trip is unmanageable, you can still see several sites around Paris including the residences of several characters, the count’s country home and more. To relive the tales of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis and d’Artagnan, visit the Louvre, where the Captain of the Musketeers meets with King Louis XIII in chapter six, or walk across The Pont Neuf and the Pont au Change bridges which are frequently crossed by the musketeers.
Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities
In his 1859 novel, Charles Dickens crafts a story of multiple characters before and during the French Revolution in both Paris and London. To start your tour, visit the Bastille. In the novel, the revolutionaries, led by the Defarges, stormed the Bastille and started the revolution. It’s the same prison where Dr. Manette was held in One Hundred and Five, North Tower cell. In present day, the prison is torn down but tourists often flock to the Place de la Bastille which was built over the ruins. Another prison featured in the novel is La Force. Though demolished in the 19th century, tourists can see the site of La Force Prison located in the Rue de Roi de Sicile. In a Tale of Two Cities, it is the prison where anyone considered a traitor to the revolution is held, including Charles Darnay. Finally, to complete your Tale of Two Cities tour around Paris, visit the Paris suburb of Saint Antoine where the Defarges live. In the novel, Saint Antoine is a hot bed of revolutionary activity. Today, Saint Antoine is part of Paris in the Eleventh Arrondissement.