Le Maison de Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo

This post first appeared on 23 December 2011.


“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved — loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo

Anyone who has experienced the delights of Paris knows there are more than can be attended in one visit. Monsieur Hugo lived in the second floor apartment of Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée from 1832 to 1848. During those 16 years, he wrote several of his major works including a large part of Les Misérables (a personal favorite).

While touring number 6 place des Vosges you will observe some of Hugo’s furniture, samples of his writing, drawings, family portraits, and first editions of his work. Additionally, you will see a painting of Hugo’s funeral procession at the Arc de Triomphe. The Chinese salon from his home on Guernsey (years of exile) has been reassembled here.

Despite the fact that Hugo spent a number of years in exile, his funeral was a national event and he was buried in the Panthéon.

One of the most important of French Romantic writers, Hugo was a poet, dramatist and novelist. His best known works include Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.





Paris’s infamous nightlife district seems tame these days, with the advent of all that the Internet offers. Every conceivable sort of  pornography and sex appliance and amusement is at the touch of your finger.

Place Pigalle  at the base of Montmartre, was named for Jean-Baptise Pigalle one of Paris’s most popular mid-18th-century sculptors. One could ponder the thoughts of Monsieur Pigalle at what his surname has come to signify in Parisian life.

Place Pigalle is still a popular nightlife area, with the famous Moulin Rouge maintaining its landmark status. Fans continue to flock  for its the glittery show, sparkling costumes, colored lights, and bare breasted women. Of course there are other nightclubs offering lesser shows at lower prices, right down to the few remaining peep shows and lap-dance places.

Pigalle is not particularly sinister or dangerous, day or night. In fact, the clubs, adult video/toy stores, and an occasional prostitute take up far less of the district than do its many sidewalk cafés, bars, boutiques, restaurants, souvenir shops, banks, and other more risque businesses. As this writer’s favourite area in Paris is the Montmartre, there have been several walks (alone)  through Pigalle during the day and at night on several occasions. It is a safe neighbourhood with single people and families going about their days. Older neighbours congregate and visit while relaxing on benches that line the avenue.

The Moulin Rouge

Many tourists who venture to this part of the city are actually on their way up the the hill to the Montmartre. Its majestic views, Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Église de Saint-Pierre de Montmartre  and the artist-filled Place du Tertre will enchant you, and its picturesque winding streets will lead you onward for a memorable journey.

In Amsterdam you can find the infamous Red Light District. In Paris, this section of the city is Pigalle. During World War II the GI’s referred to it as “Pig Alley”. It was the more colourful or seedier side of Paris. While Pigalle does not boast the window dressed “working girls” of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, it does have a rather notorious past.

Bisous, Léa