The new wave of Parisian literature
Poetry reading at Culture Rapide, in Paris. (Lonely Planet Magazine)
There has been no let-up in the flood of wannabe writers pouring into Paris hoping to emulate the success of previous literary émigrés.
Trying to get a table at the cafés once frequented by Joyce or Hemingway is a task involving hawk-like eyesight, ruthless speed and pre-sharpened elbows. But away from the obvious haunts, new literary bars, cafés and even hotels are kicking off a thoroughly 21st-century wave of Parisian literary tourism.
The newly opened Pavillon des Lettres hotel is a good place to start. Each of its 26 rooms is named after an author, running from A for Andersen (Hans Christian) to Z for Zola. I'm in T for Tolstoy and Anna Karenina has pride of place on the bedside table. Before I have a chance to open it, I'm distracted by the passages from the book that have been hand-stencilled on the wall.
When it comes to coffee, that perpetual writer's companion, instead of heading to the Left Bank, I try La Belle Hortense in the Marais. This modern café is purpose-built for reading, with a bookshop at the back - it hosts regular book signings and debates. Across town in the gritty Belleville district, the Culture Rapide bar attracts the city's youth literati with its Monday evening English language performances and poetry slams.
The wonderfully crammed literary landmark Shakespeare and Co is embracing the trend - the bookshop held its first literary festival last year, with another planned for 2012. Meanwhile, the book festival Paris en Toutes Lettres returns this May, with readings and lectures planned in bookshops, cafés and libraries across the city.
Gabriel O'Rorke is a producer for BBC World News. She is based in London but is a regular Channel-hopper.
This article was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.