Set in the Joyces’ apartment

Set visits James Joyce at his apartment on rue Galilée in Paris several times. This is the apartment Joyce and his family were living in when the news came through from New York of the judge’s ruling on whether Ulysses should be allowed entry to the United States.

Joyce and his family lived in the third floor apartment of 42 rue Galilée. The phone number in the top right hand corner is Passy 98.06.

The apartment was owned by Gabriella Charlotte Rousseau:


Madame Rousseau lived in the apartment building as can be seen from this telephone listing from 1933:


Details about the apartment in which the Joyces lived come from many sources. In a letter dated February 19, 1933 to Padraic Colum from 42 rue Galilée, Joyce writes:

Dear Colum: This is to thank you for your part of the Joyce Book. [Louis] Gillet to whom I showed it liked your preface.

I am writing under difficulties on the mantelpiece. Very little ink. No envelopes.

Patricia Hutchins wrote in her book James Joyce’s World:

“I tried at No. 42 [rue Galilée] in case there might be some person still there who might remember the Joyces. ‘Oh no, the property has changed hands,’ I was told. ‘The owner used to live down here then, I believe. Sorry I cannot help you…’ A young woman was bringing in a pram and, as she crossed the white terrazzo floor with its pattern of green leaves, a little boy followed her.”

Hutchins goes on to quote from Harold Nicholson who visited Joyce in the apartment in February 1934…

“[Nicholson] was shown into a ‘dim trim little drawing-room with a parquet floor, a few rugs and many occasional chairs and tables in the style of Louis XV’ which had ‘the enclosed atmosphere of an unused sitting room in a near provincial hotel … on each table there were groups of floral tributes … evidently the disciples had been celebrating Joyce’s birthday on the day before’. When Joyce came quietly into the room he advanced cautiously, feeling the furniture. Very neatly dressed, upon is fingers were several heavy encrusted rings; ‘his sockless feet slipped tentatively along the parquet in carpet slippers of blue and white check … From time to time his hand would finger and adjust the loose lenses in his heavy steel spectacles. His half-blindness was so oppressive that one had the impression of speaking to someone who was very ill indeed.’

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