The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Welcome fans of Paula McLain’s “The Paris Wife”! In this blog post, we invite you to join us to begin our journey through the vibrant city of Chicago, where the story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, unfolds. Discover the locations that inspired their love, creativity, and the bohemian spirit of the 1920s. We will then visit  the enchanting city of Paris, where the story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, continues. Discover the locations that inspired their love, creativity, and the bohemian spirit of the 1920s.

 From charming cafes to iconic landmarks, let’s dive into the Parisian charms that McLain beautifully portrays in her remarkable novel. McLain briefly mentions Pamplona, a city in Spain known for its annual Running of the Bulls festival.  We will finish with Key West, a town that Hemingway loved.


The novel begins in Chicago, where Hadley Richardson, the protagonist, meets Ernest Hemingway. It is also mentioned throughout the book as Hadley’s hometown.

1. The Art Institute of Chicago

Step into the world of Hadley and Ernest as you visit the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. This cultural landmark plays a significant role in their lives, as it is where they first meet in the novel. Explore the very halls and galleries where their love story begins, and immerse yourself in the art that ignites their passions. From the iconic “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat to the captivating works of Pablo Picasso, let the artistry of the museum transport you back to the bohemian atmosphere of the 1920s.

2. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Chicago just as Hemingway and Hadley did at The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. This historic jazz club, located in the Uptown neighborhood, is a favorite haunt of the couple in the novel. Step inside and be transported to the era of speakeasies and flapper dresses. Enjoy live jazz performances, sip on classic cocktails, and let the music and ambiance whisk you away to the roaring twenties.

3. The Palmer House Hilton

Indulge in a touch of luxury and history at The Palmer House Hilton, a hotel that holds a special place in Hemingway’s life in the novel. This iconic Chicago landmark is where Hemingway and Hadley stay during their visits to the city. Take a stroll through the opulent lobby, admire the grand architecture, and imagine the conversations and inspirations that flow within these walls. Whether you choose to stay overnight or simply visit for a drink, The Palmer House Hilton offers a glimpse into the glamorous world of the Hemingways.

4. Oak Park

Venture just outside of downtown Chicago to the charming suburb of Oak Park, where Hemingway spent his formative years. Explore the Hemingway Museum, located in his childhood home, and gain insight into the early influences that shaped his writing. Take a leisurely walk through the picturesque streets of Oak Park, admiring the beautiful architecture and lush greenery that inspired Hemingway’s descriptions of nature in the novel.


The majority of the novel is set in Paris during the 1920s. The city serves as a backdrop for the story and is depicted as a vibrant and bohemian hub of art, literature, and culture.

1. Café de la Rotonde

Step into the world of Hadley and Ernest as you visit Café de la Rotonde, a beloved café in the Montparnasse neighborhood. This iconic establishment was a popular gathering place for artists, writers, and intellectuals during the 1920s. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, sip on a café au lait, and imagine the conversations and inspirations that flowed within these walls. Let the spirit of the Lost Generation envelop you as you soak in the bohemian ambiance of this historic café.

2. Shakespeare and Company

Experience the literary magic of Shakespeare and Company, a legendary English-language bookstore situated on the Left Bank of the Seine. This bookstore, founded by Sylvia Beach, played a significant role in the lives of Hemingway and other expatriate writers of the time. Explore the shelves lined with books, breathe in the scent of old pages, and feel the creative energy that emanates from this literary haven. Let the spirit of Hemingway and his contemporaries inspire you as you browse through the same books that once captivated their imaginations.

3. Luxembourg Gardens

Stroll through the picturesque Luxembourg Gardens, a serene oasis in the heart of Paris. This beautiful park, located in the 6th arrondissement, is mentioned in “The Paris Wife” as a place where Hadley and Ernest often found solace and inspiration. Take a leisurely walk along the tree-lined paths, admire the vibrant flowerbeds, and find a quiet spot to sit and reflect. Let the tranquility of the gardens transport you to a time when love and literature intertwined in the City of Light.

4. Montmartre

Venture to the bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre, where Hemingway and Hadley lived during their time in Paris. Explore the winding streets, visit the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and soak in the artistic atmosphere that still permeates the area. Imagine the couple’s walks through the neighborhood, their encounters with fellow artists, and the vibrant energy that fueled their creative pursuits. Let the spirit of Montmartre ignite your own artistic passions as you immerse yourself in its rich history and charm.


Pamplona is mentioned as the setting for the famous running of the bulls, which Hemingway and Hadley attend during their time in Europe

1. Plaza del Castillo:

Plaza del Castillo is a central square in Pamplona that serves as a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. In the novel, Hemingway and Hadley visit Pamplona during the San Fermín festival, and they spend time in Plaza del Castillo, immersing themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the city.

2. Café Iruña:

Café Iruña is a historic café located in Pamplona, known for its elegant interior and outdoor terrace. In “The Paris Wife,” Hemingway and Hadley visit Café Iruña during their time in Pamplona, enjoying drinks and soaking in the ambiance of the city.

3. Running of the Bulls Route:

While not a specific location, the Running of the Bulls route is mentioned in the novel. Hemingway and Hadley witness the thrilling spectacle of the Running of the Bulls, where participants run through the streets of Pamplona, starting from the corral and ending at the bullring.

Key West, Florida 

Key West is mentioned as a place where Hemingway and Hadley spend time together, particularly during their visits to the United States.

1. Hemingway House:

The Hemingway House, also known as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, is a prominent location mentioned in the novel. It is the residence where Ernest Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, lived in Key West. The house is known for its unique architecture and the presence of polydactyl (six-toed) cats, descendants of Hemingway’s original pets.

2. Sloppy Joe’s Bar:

Sloppy Joe’s Bar is a famous Key West establishment that Hemingway frequented. It is mentioned in the novel as a place where Hemingway and his friends would gather for drinks and socializing. Sloppy Joe’s Bar is still in operation today and is a popular tourist attraction.

3. Duval Street:

Duval Street is a vibrant and lively street in Key West, known for its shops, restaurants, and nightlife. In the novel, Hemingway and his friends are depicted walking along Duval Street, immersing themselves in the energy and atmosphere of the area.

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