Henry Miller lived in Paris from 1930 to 1939, most of that time in poverty. But these years were the happiest of the author’s life, as it was here that he became a writer. Born in New York in 1891, Henry Miller crossed the Atlantic for the first time in 1928, with his secondwife June. The couple resided at the Hôtel de Paris, 24 rue Bonaparte. Miller immediately felt in his element at the Terrasse du Dôme (108 Bd du Montparnasse, 6th arr.), an avant-garde café and artists' haunt during the Roaring Twenties. A month later, the couple toured France (by bike) and Europe before returning to New York. A celestial tramp in Montparnasse Two years later, in March 1930, the 40-year-old still-unpublished Miller returned to Paris alone with ten dollars in his pocket and the intention of writing his own "Season in Hell" in the footsteps of Arthur Rimbaud. Miller lived in an attic room at the Hôtel Saint-Germain-des-Prés, at 36 rue Bon aparte, and every morning he crossed the Seine to stop in at the American Express counter at 11 rue Scribe in the hope of finding a letter filled with greenbacks. He often returned empty-handed. When Miller ran out of money, he would sleep on a sidewalk bench in front of the Closerie des Lilas brasserie, at 171 Bd duMontparnasse. One evening, while sitting on the terrace of the Dôme, he recon nected with the Viennese writer Alfred Perlès, whom he'd met on his first trip to Paris. Miller, wearing his usual crumpled hat, was seated in front of a stack of unpaid receipts for food and drink he'd ordered during the day. Perlès paid the bill and installed him at the Hôtel Central, at 1 bis rue du Maine in the 14th, with an advance on the rent. Now ensconced in the Edgar-Quinet

neighbourhood, Miller was fascinated by its life – the cabaret Le Bobino, the bars and the prostitutes on the Rue de la Gaîté who Inspired him to write the short story Mademoiselle Claude. With his Mandarin face, his deep voice exclaiming his love When he ran out of money, he'd sleep on a bench ” for literature and his allure of a celestial tramp, Miller became a popular figure in Montparnasse. In October 1931, thanks to the attorney Richard Osborn, who lodged him at 2 Rue Auguste Bart holdi in the 15th, Miller met Anaïs Nin, a young writer married to a banker. This meeting marked the beginning of a formida ble intellectual relationship and a great love story. In the footsteps of Céline Miller occasionally went on night time walks with his friend the photographer Brassaï in Les Halles or in the 13th arrondissement. At daybreak, Miller would accompany Brassaï back to the Hôtel des Terrasses, at 74 rue de la Glacière in the 13th, where the photographer was living. Miller was also friendlywith painters Lajos Tihanyi andHans Reichel, writer Raymond Queneau and literary agent Franck Dobo, who in early 1932 entrusted Miller with the yet-unpublished manuscript of Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night. Captivated by this book, Miller brought his friend Perlès to Clichy in the writer’s footsteps, where they shared an apartment at 4 av. Anatole France in the Hauts de-Seine. But Miller would never actually meet Céline who no longer lived in this suburb. Quiet days at the Villa Seurat Nin, whowantedMiller back in Paris, rented a stu dio on the first floor of 18 Villa Seurat (14th arr.), a deadend street in the Montsouris neighbourhood made up of 20 small modernist houses designed by the architect André Lurçat where many artists lived. Miller moved there on September 23, 1934, the day his novel Tropic of Cancer was released. Writers Blaise Cendrars and LawrenceDurrell vis 18 ited him there. Miller would spend his evenings with friends at the Brasserie Zeyer (62 rue d'Alesia, 14th arr.) discussing Asian philosophy, the occult and astrology, which he was passionate about. One night, convinced that the planet Jupiter was his best ally, Miller climbed on Villa Seurat’s roof to contemplate the planet as closely as possible and fell, crashing through a glass roof, but the writer sustained only minor injuries. The fifth planet in the solar systemprotected him after all! Miller left Paris in 1939 as war was brewing in Europe. ◆ To find out more, read: Henry Miller Grandeur Nature by Brassaï (Gallimard) and Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller (Penguin).