I view life as a fortuitous collaboration ascribable to the fact that one finds oneself in the right place at the right time. For us, the “right place” was the famous “Beat Hotel” in Paris, roughly from 1958 to 1963.

Brion Gysin, The Third Mind


One afternoon, as I wandered down the Rue Gît-le-Cœur, I passed the small four-star Hotel Relais du Vieux Paris, which was once the location of the famous Beat Hotel. In the mirrored windows of one of its doors I took this self-portrait. Located at number 9, in the 1940’s and 1950’s, The Beat Hotel was a small, run-down hotel with 42 rooms, a “class 13” hotel, meaning bottom line, a place that was required by law to meet only minimum health and safety standards in the Latin Quarter of Paris. It had never been given a proper name, acquiring the its identity when Gregory Corso referred to it as The Beat Hotel during one of his stays there. Frequented by Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and others between 1957 until it closed in 1963, The Beat Hotel had an atmosphere that encouraged creativity and crazy times. For one short period it became the center of the Beat Poetry movement. Today, after some initial reluctance to come to terms with its past, the present hotel identifies itself with its history. A few photos of its former inhabitants adorn the walls of the reception room and a plaque hanging on the wall outside lists some of the literary figures who stayed there. You can read a review and an excerpt from Barry Miles’ excellent book, “The Beat Hotel” at this link:



000 SP Beat HotelPhoto taken at The Beat Hotel in Paris in May 2015.


© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved

Categories: Literature, Paris, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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  1. Pingback: SATURDAY MORNING | nightpoetry

  2. Love the quote ❤ and a relaly great post! xx 🙂

    • Thank you. Gysin is often forgotten as one of the creative forces in the Beat movement. “He is best known for his discovery of the cut-up technique, used by his friend, the novelist William S. Burroughs. With the engineer Ian Sommerville he invented the Dreamachine, a flicker device designed as an art object to be viewed with the eyes closed. It was in painting and drawing, however, that Gysin devoted his greatest efforts, creating calligraphic works inspired by the cursive Japanese “grass” script and Arabic script. Burroughs later stated that ‘Brion Gysin was the only man I ever respected.’ ” (Wikipedia)

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