„To sit indoors was silly. I postponed the search for Savchenko and Ludmila till the next day and went wandering about Paris. The men wore bowlers, the women huge hats with feathers. On the café terraces lovers kissed unconcernedly - I stopped looking away. Students walked along the boulevard St. Michel. They walked in the middle of the street, holding up traffic, but no one dispersed them. At first I thought it was a demonstration - but no, they were simply enjoying themselves. Roasted chestnuts were being sold. Rain began to fall. The grass in the Luxembourg gardens was a tender green. In December! I was very hot in my lined coat. (I had left my boots and fur cap at the hotel.) There were bright posters everywhere. All the time I felt as though I were at the theatre.
I have lived in Paris off and on for many years. Various events, snatches of conversation have become confused in my memory. But I remember well my first day there: the city electrified my. The most astonishing thing is that is has remained unchanged; Moscow is unrecognizable, but Paris is still as it was. When I come to Paris now, I feel inexpressibly sad - the city is the same, it is I who have changed. It is painful for me to walk along the familiar streets - they are the streets of my youth. Of course, the fiacres, the omnibuses, the steam-car disappeared long ago; you rarely see a café with red velvet or leather settees; only a few pissoirs are left - the rest have gone into hiding underground. But these, after all, are minor details. People still live out in the streets, lovers kiss wherever they please, no one takes any notice of anyone. The old houses haven't changed - what's another half a century to them; at their age it makes no difference. Say what you will, the world has changed, and so the Parisians, too, must be thinking of many things of which they had no inkling in the old days: the atom bomb, mass-production methods, Communism. But with their new thoughts they still remain Parisians, and I am sure that if an eighteen-year-old Soviet lad comes to Paris today he will raise his hands in astonishment, as I did in 1908: "A theatre!“
People, Years and Life