Paris: First Impressions

It has been almost two weeks since I arrived in Paris.

I have spent most of this time exploring the city. I’ve been getting an idea of the layout, finding good wifi spots, learning which Metro lines go where, and of course admiring the sights this beautiful city has to offer.

I have been networking too. I have been meeting travelers and locals, reconnecting with old acquaintances and making new friends. I have spent a surprising amount of time hanging out with people I know, considering I have moved to a city where I thought I did not know anyone. Life is full of surprises like that.

I live in the 3rd Arrondissement, close to the Square du Temple. This area used to house a fortress built by the Knights Templar in the 12th and 13th centuries. Parts of this fortress were used as a prison during the French Revolution, and the building was demolished in the 1800s. Despite this, the Templars have clearly left their mark in the area.

There is a church on Rue du Temple with large Templar flags on the outside. I was exploring the city with my friend Caitlin and we decided to pop in to see what it was like inside. As we sat down in the pews, mass started. Not only was it my first mass, it was also in Chinese. We closed our eyes and meditated while the Chinese community held mass, and we finished at the same time. It was a beautiful experience. I can now check Chinese mass in Paris off my bucket list.

There is a lot of magic in Paris. This can be seen in the city layout, the sacred geometry embedded in the architecture, and the archetypes represented in the statues and sculptures. This magic is very much alive today, whether people realize it or not. If you pay close enough attention, this can be felt in the general atmosphere of the city. There are remnants of Egyptian and Greek mystery traditions prevalent throughout the city. Clearly a lot of thought, intention, and planning has been put into establishing Paris as the cultural hub it has become.

I have spent a lot of time wandering around Paris and discovering new places. This city is full of hidden (and not so hidden) gems, and it is easy to cover a lot of ground on foot. One of my favourite walks is along the Seine. Having lived along the coast for most of my life, I find it soothing to be close to the water.

There are loads of parks throughout the city, and many of them offer free public wifi. Whether it’s morning, afternoon, or midnight, you will see people hanging out in the parks, reading (during the day), having a picnic, or simply relaxing. As busy as the city gets, there are a number of opportunities to unwind somewhere surrounded by trees or water features.

Don’t get me started on the food. I have been exploring the various restaurants, cafés, and coffee shops, not only in search of good wifi, but also to discover the vegan-friendly options available in Paris. I have not been disappointed. There are fine dining, fast food, and raw food options. There are juice bars, brasseries, patisseries, Indian, Mexican, Italian, and Vietnamese options. And much more. A lot of them are within walking distance from where I stay. I will review some of the places I have been to in upcoming posts.

For my first few days I was hopping between wifi spots to stay connected to the world. Since then I have found a solution that is a practical and affordable option for travelers. I will write about this in another post.

My French is coming along. I did a beginners course at Alliance Française du Cap to prepare for this trip. I know enough French to introduce myself, read menus, order food, ask for directions, and make (really basic) small talk… but I still have a lot to learn. Hearing the language every day helps, and I am using Duolingo to keep the words and phrases fresh in my memory.

I am excited to be here. Paris is unfolding beautifully and magically, and I look forward to becoming more familiar with the city in the weeks and months to come.

Next, I need to find potential collaborators for humanitarian work, build a community of like-minded people who want to change the world, and connect with local music makers and producers. I also need to find a studio space to complete my upcoming matek album. This is all part of the plan. It’s part of the adventure, the exploration, and the mission.

One step at a time.

More to come.

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