The Hotel of Strangers

The Hôtel d' Étrangers (Hotel of Strangers) was a hotel in the Latin Quarter of Paris on the Boulevard Saint-Michel. An attic room on the third floor was the meeting place for the Circle Zutique of poets, founded by the poet and inventor Charles Cros.

Here a circle of friends that included Paul Verlaine and his lover Arthur Rimbaud would gather to recite poetry, sing, play the piano, drink absinthe and take hashish and opium. During the Winter 0f 1871-2, along with others they wrote the collaborative collection the Album Zutique - a collection of 24 mostly bawdy and obscene parodies.

The seventeen year old Rimbaud lodged here for a while, working as the assistant to the barman/manager and musician Ernest Cabaner who taught Rimbaud to play the piano by associating each note of an octave with a vowel or a colour.