It was a "class 13" hotel, meaning bottom line.
January 21, 2013 11:57 AM   Subscribe

The Beat Hotel and neighbourhood as seen through the lens of Harold Chapman.
Another interview with Chapman.
Amongst the photos Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Mirtaud the cat.
The Beat Hotel (wiki) was probably the last Parisian 'Vie de Boheme'.
posted by adamvasco (9 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
One evening she came to Room 29 and asked:"Do you want to photograph the face of suffering?"

Kaja, in an interview with Dixie Nimmo, said; "I came here to find artistic friendship and found only loneliness".

Kaja seemed to be quite the gloomy Gus for someone living in Paris.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:16 PM on January 21, 2013

Kay Johnson, aka Kaja
posted by adamvasco at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2013

Kaja seemed to be quite the gloomy Gus for someone living in Paris.

I take it you've never met a native Parisian?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:25 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

There seems to have been more than one Mirtaud.

What does it say about me that this is one of the first things I noticed?
posted by irrelephant at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2013

Oh yes.

That brings back memories, having lived in Paris 1960/61 - it was during the war in Algeria - I was often at that hotel.

William Burroughs was just a shadowy presence though.

The café Monaco was more my hang-out along with all the other buskers in Paris. Typical that just Alex Campbell gets honoured with a photo. What about Wizz Jones then?

There was an artist, whose name I now forget, living in the Beat Hotel I often visited.
After a night of wandering the city we would end up at Les Halles and get given vegetables and even meat sometimes, stuff they couldnt sell. Then back to the Beat Hotel and cook it on her gas-ring perched precariously on the bed. And a bottle or two of atrocious wine.
Happy days indeed.

And Georges bookshop was still called le Mistral.

I went back a couple of years ago - the place was unrecognizable of course - but they had some photos from that period in some of the rooms - perhaps they were Harolds.
posted by jan murray at 2:20 PM on January 21, 2013 [5 favorites]

Awesome, I've stayed there twice. The first time was decades ago - late 80s I think - my first solo trip out of the U.S. I found it in the budget section of a travel publication and wrote a letter to Madame Odillard to secure a room. My room was only slightly larger than the bed, but I loved the location and loved the price. Madame was very kind to me and told me that the Beats had all stayed there often. I only had about 50 words of self-taught French so wasn't able to learn too much more. It was in an alley right in the heart of San Michel, a stone's throw from the Seine, a few blocks from Notre Dame and Shakespeare & Company. It was very humble but I couldn't have been happier, I felt I stumbled on a true Parisian experience.

I was back in Paris about two years ago and my sister and I stayed there again - it's been renovated and is a charming and rather pricey little place now Le Relais Hôtel du Vieux Paris. Madame Odillard still runs the place and was again very kind. I think one of the best hidden gems in Paris. Thanks for these great photos, adamvasco - it is very fun for me to read about the hotel's literary pedigree. And I enjoyed your story, jan murray.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:32 PM on January 21, 2013

Here's a trailer to a documentary on The Beat Hotel - cool. It features the photographer and many of the photos in this post.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:37 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bryon Gysin (0161440) is staring at a Dreamachine, I think.
posted by carter at 7:39 PM on January 21, 2013

Whoever walks rue Gît-le-coeur must make a stop at the 10, the legendary library "Un regard Moderne".
posted by denpo at 7:44 PM on January 21, 2013

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