At 53, Rue de Varenne in Paris, a plaque on the outside of the building commemorates a famous figure who once lived there—Edith Wharton, “the first writer of the United States to settle in France out of love of the country and its literature.” The literary locale is one place visited by Elaine Sciolino, Paris correspondent for The New York Times and the author of an article about the novelist that appeared today in the newspaper’s travel section, “Edith Wharton Always Had Paris.”
The fascinating article touches on places Wharton visited in Paris, among them the Hôtel de Crillon. It also illuminates personal details like her extensive charitable works during World War I and her clandestine affair with journalist Morton Fullerton. “Wharton’s relationship with Fullerton worked particularly well when they acted like ordinary tourists,” writes Sciolino. “In just one day, they met at the Louvre, visited the nearby St.-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church, went to the ancient Roman Arènes de Lutèce near the Jardin des Plantes, then walked around the Luxembourg Gardens” (at right).
And with the City of Light used as a backdrop in such works as Madame de Treymes, The Reef, The Custom of the Country, and The Age of Innocence, Sciolino reminds readers, “Wharton’s Paris endures in her fiction.”
[Photos: © Steven Rendon]