Exploring James Baldwin’s Previous Haunts in New York and Paris

Verneuil Hotel

Soon after arriving in Paris, Baldwin moved into this dilapidated hotel run by Frau. Dumont, the matriarch of a Corsican family. Life there resembled Baldwin’s days in the village, and it was not uncommon for residents to share meals, typewriters, and lovers. At the hotel, the author developed close friendships with Mary Keen, a radical socialist from England, and Gidske Anderson, a Norwegian journalist who lived nearby. It was a particularly lively social scene: according to the Leeming bio, the music at a party held to mark the launch of Zero was so loud and the hype so loud that Mme. Dumont turned off the power. Even so, the party went on after dawn and didn’t stop until there was nothing left to drink. Today’s Hôtel Verneuil (which, unfortunately, is not the same building Baldwin lived in) reopened last year after a complete renovation by the French architect Isabelle Stanislas with some of her 26 rooms adorned with photos of James Baldwin.

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