We're getting so excited about our trip next month. I'm a Proust fan -- besides going to the Musee Carnavalet to see the furniture from his bedroom, and perhaps going to see the cork-lined apartment where the furniture used to be, does anyone have suggestions for us? We're already leaning against going to the amusingly renamed Illiers-Combray, because it sounds more like a tourist trap where they sell madeleines than like a real Proust-lover's experience. But if you've been there and you disagree, by all means please tell me. Are there places I might want to make a pilgrimage to in the suburb of Auteil? I guess I expected there would be museums everywhere dedicated to M. Proust... am I missing something?
It's outside Paris (by a long shot), but the Balbec hotel is modelled on 2 Normandy landmarks: the Grand Hotel de Cabourg (in Cabourg), and the Hotel des Roches Noires in Trouville, where young Marcel stayed, in room 110 (google that). The Roches Noires in winter also conjures an ambiance similar to that of the Overlook in the same season. It's 2 hours away by train, so doable as a daytrip.
I was quite disappointed by my Proust pilgrimmage to the Grand Hotel de Cabourg. The bar was blasting "Born to be wild". How Proustian is that? However at Cambremer Proust was supposed to have stayed in the premises of this beautiful b&b, according to the owner: http://www.chateaulesbruyeres.com/uk/hotel-chateau-normandy.html
Also, although he was never (but who knows) at the Jacquermart-André, I always thought the town house has a very Proustian feel to it.
Have you read 'Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen' by Kate Taylor? I loved it.
The Times said 'Like Michael Cunningham in his prizewinning The Hours, Taylor adopts a tripartite structure to show how events in a writer's life and themes in his work have resonance for subsequent generations. Taylor's is, however, much the richer, subtler and less deterministic work.... truly inspired.'
Have you visited the Musee Camondo? It's the hotel particulier home of an early 20th century millionaire who collected classic furniture. It suggests something of the ambiance depicted in Prousts writings. It's in the 17th district.
The dining room at the Musee Carmondo is where Proust dined frequently with the Count and his family. Supposedly, he then donned his yellow gloves and took a stroll in the Park Monceau, the lovely park that the house backs up to. I strongly recommend both for a Proustian moment.
Posts: 196 | Location: Tacoma/France | Registered: 24 February 2005
The Trouville tourist office site mentions a "walk in the footsteps of Proust." No details, but this may be a brochure or flier with points marked. If you decide to go to Trouville, you might contact them.
well stop by 102 bl Haussmann, he lived there fro 12 yrs ,its the old apartment of his aunt, he would close himself there to work away from the noise, especially prepared the apartment,later glue tot he bed taking his asthma medications.
Originally posted by will Code For Fun: We're getting so excited about our trip next month. I'm a Proust fan -- besides going to the Musee Carnavalet to see the furniture from his bedroom, and perhaps going to see the cork-lined apartment where the furniture used to be, does anyone have suggestions for us?
The Ritz has a room named in honor of Proust, but you can save some euro and just find yourself a comfy bergere in the grand gallery, order a pot of tea and plate of madelines, and then just observe everyone that walks by.
Here's the hotel's official web site - Ritz (check out the little blurbs at the bottom of the page in the Marcel Proust room).
The province walk on Terresdecrivains (http://www.terresdecrivains.com/Balades-avec-Proust-a-Trouville) opens on the Hotel des Roches Noires in Trouville. The apartment where Proust stayed (#110) is on the left of the photo, corner of the building, 1st floor (with the balcony). Further along the side of the building, same floor, is Marguerite Duras's apartment.
Thank you so much, everyone! I'm still puzzled about why Paris doesn't have some sort of "favorite son" museum for M. Proust (I would argue that he's among the most influential writers of all time), but we're very happy to have these suggestions.
You are right, it is mystifying that Paris has not devoted a museum to Proust. Perhaps because the house he lived in on Bd Haussmann is now owned by a bank who have now even banned visits to his former apartment - what a sad reflection of money-driven times.
You can see some of his manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale.
Have you read How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton? I have to confess I haven't, but a friend recommended it and also said that de Botton's point of view is that you don't need to visit the places to feel the spirit of Proust. In which case the advice to buy a Madeleine and watch the world go buy, finding your own Proustian moment, is excellent. When I moved to Paris I was amused to see they actually sell madeleines from vending machines on the Métro! The Rostand café overlooking the Jardins de Luxembourg, or even the café in the Luxembourg itself, evoke the flavour of his time.
I'm definitely in agreement that Normandy is also a great region to follow in Proust's footsteps. The Roches Noires is an immaculate hotel which has been transformed into private apartments. Just walking along the boardwalk in front of the building you can imagine Proust writing away on the sun terrace. I have a friend who rents out her place there by the week if your interested. Apparently he also stayed at Gallimard's (publisher) house in Normandy, which is now owned by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. The rooms are named after different characters from his writing. Although sadly enough this is a private residence. I would also suggest checking out the YSl foundation in Paris, http://fondation-pb-ysl.net/, as YSL himself was very inspired by Proust to the point that it reflects in his collections circa 1990s.