Hotel La Louisiane | Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris | Simone de Beauvoir / Miles Davis / Juliette Gréco / Albert Cossery / Lucian Freud, 1940s-1960s

Robert Doisneau, Paris, 1950 / St Germain des Prés - Hotel La Louisiane (Rue de Seine)

Hotel La Lousiane is a hotel on Rue de Seine in Paris, France. Constructed in 1823 by a former 
officer in Napoleon’s army , the hotel later became a home base to jazz musicians and writers
 beginning in the 1920s. Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de Saint Exupery, Jean-Paul Sartre (room 10), 
Simone de Beauvoir (room 68), Henri Miller and many more.

David E. Scherman, Hotel La Lousiane, 1946
                  Simone de Beauvoir, Hôtel La Louisiane, Paris, 1946


"I'd never lodged anywhere that fulfilled my dreams as that place did; I would have happily stayed
 there for the rest of my life. At the other end of the corridor, Sartre had a tiny room where he lived
 in a state of asceticism that never ceased to shock his visitors: he didn't even have any books."


In the spring of '44, when the Allies landed in Normandy, some of the hotel guests used to go
 and sunbathe on the roof terrace. "I couldn't bear the hot sun beating down on the hard cement, "
 wrote Beauvoir, "but in the evenings, I liked to go up there and sit and read or chat. "

Denise Belon, Simone de Beauvoir in the Hôtel La Louisiane  

Juliette Greco, a singer and symbol of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, lived there in May 1948, 
and had a passionate love affair with the famous trumpeter Miles Davis, who composed 
the music for the Louis Malle film Elevator to the Gallows.

Georges Dudognon, Juliette Gréco in her bed at the Hôtel La Louisiane, 1948

Miles Davis  fell in love with the French chanteuse while in Paris, but stopped her
from following him back to the U.S., where he feared their interracial relationship.

“I suddenly understood that I’d made a terrible mistake, from which came a strange
feeling of humiliation that I’ll never forget. In America, his color was made blatantly
obvious to me, whereas in Paris, I didn’t even notice he was black.”

Juliette Gréco >

Juliette and Miles Davis (room 76), her lover during her stay at hotel La Louisiane.

It is most associated with jazz musicians of the 1950s and 1960s. Oscar Peterson,
Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey,
Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Lester Young and Charlie Parker all stayed at the hotel.

Georges Dudognon, Juliette Greco and Anabelle Buffet in the Hôtel La Louisiane, 1949
Albert Cossery

In 1945, an Egyptian writer came to Paris, to the land whose language he could read and write.
The writer was Albert Cossery, and he had one thing on his mind: seducing pretty young women.
He moved into an apartment building in Montparnasse, but soon tired of the constant to-ing and
 fro-ing between his lodgings and the hotel room in Saint-Germain where he took his conquests
 and eventually moved into the Louisiane in 1951. He would only write when he had absolutely
 nothing better to do. As far as he was concerned, the pleasures of living were far more important
than writing, which wasn't a source of pleasure. He had no possessions and spent his time idling:
"You have to earn idleness…If other people like working, then let them get on with it", he said
 somewhat cynically and philosophically.
"But by idleness I don't mean just doing nothing, but thinking and reading. Reading is the
most extraordinary thing in the world."

Nathalie de Saint Phalle, Hôtels littéraires, 1991


David E. Scherman, Hotel La Lousiane, 1946

La Louisiane became a special meeting place for Salvador Dali and Amanda Lear,
Bernard Buffet, Alberto Giacometti, Vassilakis Takis, Dennis Oppenheim,
Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring and many more.

Lucian Freud, Hotel Bedroom, 1954

In 1954, a double of portrait of Lucian Freud, "in shadow against the light from 
the window, with his second wife, Caroline Blackwood" was painted in the hotel.


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