Visited daily by Robert Louis Stevenson
— 1879 —
This plaza was once occupied by the restaurant of Jules Simoneau. In late 1879 young Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, the almost unknown, ate his meals hear nearly every day. He was staying in a small room at the nearby rooming house known as the French Hotel. Stevenson and Simoneau spent much time together, playing chess and talking philosophically "upon all things divine and human."
Although Stevenson left Monterey after four months, never to return, he and Simoneau remained friends throughout Stevenson's years of fame as the author of many literary classics, including Treasure Island
, A Child's Garden of Verses
and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
. While in Monterey, Stevenson wrote Pavilion on the Links
, the greater part of The Amateur Immigrant
and several other works. After leaving Monterey, Stevenson wrote The Old Pacific Capital
, an essay about Monterey and vicinity. The rooming house where Stevenson stayed is now known as the Stevenson House and is open to the public.
"In my little restaurant at Monterey, we have sat down to table, day after day, a Frenchman, two Portuguese, an Italian, a Mexican, and a Scotsman: we had for common visitor's an American from Illinois, a nearly pure-blood Indian woman, and a naturalised Chinese; and from time to time a Switzer and a German came down from country ranches for the night." From The Old Pacific Capital, 1880
"Out of all my private recollections of remembered inns and restaurants... one particular house of entertainment stands forth alone... Simoneau's at Monterey."from Simoneau's at Monterey, 1880.
"I am very sure... I shall never find another landlord like my papa Simoneau. I was the spoiled child of the house; when my appetite failed, he broke his heart to find me dainties; if there was anything delicate in Monterey, papa Simoneau was sure to have some of it laid by for his favorite boarder. And then the talks that we had... the studies that we made in chess... the long pleasant evenings by the stove!"from Simoneau's at Monterey, 1880
"I shall never forget the good times we had together, the many long talks, the games of chess, the flute on occasion and the excellent food." from Stevenson letter to Simoneau, late 1883.
Installed in the year 2000, in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson's birth. Through the courtesy of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club of Monterey and the City of Monterey.