|PARIS 1920s. La Rotonde, a sidewalk cafe popular with Russian Ex-pats.|
Paris is full of Russians
by Ernest Hemingway.From the public domain: Originally published by the Toronto Star, February 25, 1922.
Paris is full of Russians at present. The Russian ex-aristocracy are scattered all over Europe, running restaurants in Rome, tearooms on Capri, working as hotel porters in Nice and Marseilles and as laborers along the Mediterranean shipping centers. But those Russians who managed to bring some money or possessions with them seem to have flocked to Paris.
They are drifting along in Paris in a childish sort of hopefulness that things will somehow be all right, which is quite charming when you first encounter it and rather maddening after a few months. No one knows just how they live except it is by selling off jewels and gold ornaments and family heirlooms that they brought with them to France when they fled before the revolution.
According to the manager of a great jewel house on the Rue de la Paix, pearls have come down in price because of the large numbers of beautiful pearls that have been sold to Parisian jewel buyers by the Russian refugees. It is true that many Russians are living fairly lavishly in Paris at present on the sale of jewels they have brought with them in their exile.
Just what the Russian colony in Paris will do when all the jewels are sold and all the valuables pawned is somewhat of a question. It is usually impossible for a large body of people to support themselves indefinitely by borrowing money, although a few people enjoy a great success at it for a time. Of course things may change in Russia, something wonderful might happen to aid the Russian colony. There is a cafe on the Boulevard Montparnasse where a great number of Russians gather every day for this something wonderful to happen and then, eventually, like all the rest of the world, the Russians of Paris may have to go to work. It seems a pity, they are such a charming lot.