Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was a French writer, his works are famous all around the world. He was born in Tours in 1799 and died in Paris in 1850. His works are very popular in Poland mostly thanks to amazing translations made by Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński. Travelling to Ukraine to visit his future wife Ewelina Hańska he stopped in Krakow for 4 times. For the first time this happened on September 9-10th 1847, during this short stay he managed to see Wawel castle hill and was amazed by the Wawel Cathedral. The city itself didn’t impress him at all, he even called it “the corpse of the capital”. His next to visits to Krakow took place in February and September 1848, the last time was on the May 4th 1850. The newspaper “Czas” even published an article about him and his wife staying in hotel “Pod Różą” (Under the rose).

In 1967 Polish Society of Cooperation with France hanged a memorial plaque on the wall of hotel “Pod Różą” on Floriańska St 14 saying “Balzac was staying here on th 4th-5th of May 1850”. Th fact is that Balzac was staying in a different hotel with a similar name, Hotel pod Białą Różą (Under the white rose), located at Stradom St 13. Hotel at Floriańska St had a different name in 1850, it was called “Ruski”(Russian) to commemorate the visit of Russian tsar Alexander I and prince Konstantin. After the failure of 1863 revolt the name of the hotel was changed and named after the restaurant ”Pod Białą Różą” that was moved here from Stradomska Street in 1853. Later the word Białą(White) was removed and that’s how the name “Pod Różą” was created. The myth about Balzac’s stay in that hotel on Floriańska existed till 1974 when Dr Michał Rożek, passionate Polish historian, wrote the true story in his article in Rocznik Krakowski(Krakow Yearbook).

Hotel “Pod Różą” on a map:

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