A home for literature in Paris

Cafés on the Left Bank have hosted numerous literary figures, from Voltaire to Camus

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Paris captures literary imaginations. Though Proust wrote all seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time from his bed, the celebrated novel depicts the city in vivid detail: from the elegant Haussmannian buildings of the Champs Elysées, to the leafy alleys of the Bois de Boulogne. 

© Alamy

The feat is remembered in the city’s Musée Carnavalet, which houses a replica of Proust’s bedroom.

Traditionally the city’s Left Bank has hosted the literary scene, where cafés such as the still-standing Le Procope served coffee — a lot of it — to greats such as Voltaire and Balzac.

© Alamy

The French capital is also the circumstantial birthplace of some of the best English-language novels of the 20th century. James Joyce’s Ulysses was published by Shakespeare and Company, the English-language bookshop facing Notre-Dame. Today, the bookshop is a social hub for English-language readers. 

© Alamy

Still on the Left Bank, café Les Deux Magots on the formerly bohemian Boulevard Saint-Germain was the place to be for Hemingway, Breton and Picasso in the 1920s, and then Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir in the 1950s. 

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The illustrious café has run an annual literary prize since 1933.

Saint-Germain 

Moments from Boulevard Saint-Germain’s iconic cafés, this 222 sq m apartment includes three reception rooms and five bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms. 

Set in an 18th-century building with a lift, it has an 80 sq m terrace overlooking the Luxembourg Garden.

Available through Christie’s International Real Estate, €6.9m

Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Near the Rue Royale in the central 8th arrondissement, this three-bedroom apartment is on the first floor of an 18th-century mansion. 

The master bedroom overlooks gardens in an interior courtyard, a couple of metro stops away from the Musée Carnavalet.

Available through Knight Frank, €5.6m

Photographs: Xavier Muyard; AFP/Getty Images; edpics/Alamy; Hemis/Alamy; Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library/Alamy; Loomis Dean/The Life Picture Collection/Getty

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