The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) The Barbizon – Paulina Bren

When I picked up this book at the library I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never heard of The Barbizon hotel in New York City and was completely unaware of the essential role it played in sheltering women (for a variety of reasons) throughout the 20th century. However, I was intrigued by the subtitle of the book so I decided to take a chance…I was not disappointed! 

In this book, Paulina Bren tells the stories of the women who resided at the hotel and documents the history of the famous Barbizon hotel which catered to women when women were not allowed to rent a hotel room after 6pm and single women working and living in NYC had very limited options for safe affordable housing. The Barbizon was a residential hotel and some women stayed only a week but many stayed for months, years, and some even a lifetime. The history of the Barbizon is intricately tied to the stories of the women who worked at Mademoiselle magazine and the internship program it ran for young women, all of whom stayed at The Barbizon, including Sylvia Plath. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m so glad I picked it up!! I have since recommended it to several people and they also gave it rave reviews! Additionally, I am looking forward to picking up Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ again which is based on her time spent in NYC working for Mademoiselle magazine and living at The Barbizon!! 

Read on my friends!

-Haddi encourages you to support local, small, independent bookstores whenever possible. If you would like to purchase online while still supporting independent bookstores, please consider purchasing from

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