Famous residents and their homes

May 7, 2024
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Always a magnet for creatives and artists, the city has had more celebrities in it than People magazine. Here are a few examples of their former homes so you can unleash your inner fangirl/boy/person and hit the Parisian walk of fame.

Coco Chanel
31 Rue Cambon, 1st

The world's oldest Chanel boutique and Coco Chanel's former home on Rue Cambronne viewed from the street.

In 1910, the designer opened her first shop, called Chanel Modes, at 21 Rue Cambon. She later moved the boutique to number 31 and herself to the second floor of the building, just above her showroom and below her studio and workshops. She used this apartment more for entertaining than for living, as her real bedroom was in the Ritz across the street. Now called the Coco Chanel Suite, it’s yours for 18,000 euros a night.

Can’t be visited (but you can visit the Chanel store on the ground floor).

Victor Hugo
6 Place des Vosges, 4th

The famous French writer Victor Hugo's bedroom in his former apartment at Place des Vosges with red tapestry and a dark wooden four-poster bed.

Visit the second floor of the private mansion on the Place des Vosges where the author of Les Misérables lived from 1832 to 1848 and enter the intimacy of his souvenirs, his interior decoration and his furniture. Admission to the museum is free, but there sometimes is a charge for temporary exhibitions.

Can be visited.

Ernest Hemingway
74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 5th 

Hemingway's first Paris home viewed from the outside. A sign on the facade of the house refers to the famous resident.

The American writer lived in several apartments, the first of which was located on rue du Cardinal Lemoine, according to a sign on the outside of the building. Hemingway lived here with his first wife, Hadley, when he was an unknown journalist. The place had no hot water, the communal toilet was in the hallway and the couple slept on a mattress on the floor.

Can’t be visited.

Françoise Sagan
34 rue Guynemer, 6th

The blue sky is reflected in the windows of the apartment building, the former home of writer Françoise Sagan, next to the Luxembourg Gardens.

The literary prodigy threw wild parties in her – for the time – ultra-modern apartment next to the Luxembourg Gardens. She even kept a bowl of money in the middle of her living room for guests to help themselves. Her generosity took its toll, and she was impoverished by the end of her life.

Can’t be visited.

Gertrude Stein
27 Rue de Fleurus, 6th

The exterior of 27 Rue de Fleurus, longtime home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, where they held their literary circles with members of the Lost Generation such as Hemingway.

Perhaps the most important apartment of the 1920s from an artistic point of view, this is where Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas entertained and mentored the greats of the day, including Picasso, Hemingway, Cézanne, Matisse, Fitzgerald, and many others who met at Stein’s weekly salons.

Can’t be visited.

Oscar Wilde
13 Rue des Beaux Arts, 6th

Hotel L'Hotel in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, where Oscar Wilde lived and died.

This hotel, with the simple name of L’Hotel (it was then called L’Alsace), was the Irish writer’s last home and the place where he died. The suite bears his name, although it is more likely that he stayed in a more modest room, as he was, as he said, ‘dying beyond his means’. Now a luxury hotel, in Wilde’s day it was filthy, ‘so utterly depressing, so hopeless’. After its renovation, many other celebrities stayed at L’Hotel, including Salvador Dali, Princess Grace, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Jim Morrison.

Can be visited. The hotel bar ‘Wilde’s’ hosts jazz nights on Thursdays.

Serge Gainsbourg
5 bis Rue de Verneuil, 7th

The wall of Serge Gainsbourg's house has been covered with graffiti by his fans.

Gainsbourg spent most of his life in the mansion on Rue de Verneuil, partly accompanied by Jane Birkin, who moved five minutes away on Rue Jacob after the couple separated. The singer’s former home has recently been turned into a museum. Fans have expressed their undying admiration with a graffiti-covered wall in front of the house.

Can be visited.

62 Rue de la Victoire, 9th

Before becoming Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife temporarily lived in a private mansion, the Hotel Beauharnais. He later moved with Josephine to the Tuileries Palace. Both buildings no longer exist, but you can still visit the sites and imagine the little man pacing in his office through the window at two o’clock in the morning, his usual wake-up time.

Can’t be visited.

Agnès Varda
88 Rue Daguerre, 14th

The small light pink house on Rue Daguerre, which used to belong to film maker Agnès Varda.

Beloved by her neighbors, some of whom she immortalized in her documentary Daguerréotypes, Nouvelle Vague filmmaker Agnès Varda’s pastel pink house was filled with flowers after her death. Despite her success, Varda remained in her modest little house after she became famous.

Can’t be visited.

Man Ray & Kiki de Montparnasse
31 Rue Campagne Première, 14th

The Art Nouveau house that once was the home of Man Ray and Kiki de Montparnasse, seen from the street.

When Montparnasse replaced Montmartre as the artists’ district in the 1910s, many studio complexes were built. One of the most luxurious was the Art Nouveau building on Rue Campagne Première, designed by architect André Arfvidson. The rent for the duplex studio apartments was around 3,400 francs a year – more than ten times the average rent in the area. Man Ray lived here for ten years with Kiki de Montparnasse. Other famous residents included the painter Chaïm Soutine, the photographer Dora Maar, the sculptor César, the painter and writer Yuri Annenkov, and the writer Ezra Pound.

Can’t be visited.

Alain Delon
42 Avenue du President Kennedy, 16th

Alain Delon's former top-floor apartment with a wide balcony.

The 780-square-meter triplex with private terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower, where the actor lived with Romy Schneider and then Mireille Darc in the 1960s, was sold in 2012 for 46 million euros.

Can’t be visited.

47 Rue Raynouard, 16th

Balzac's house and garden in Paris that are now a museum.

Balzac’s former home has been transformed into a memorial, with walls lined with the writer’s pictures, works and letters. The highlight, however, is the garden, which is large for Paris, with a view of the Eiffel Tower and all. Admission is free.

Can be visited.


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