Part of me died in Paris, a strong sense of naïveté perishes upon witnessing the ebb and flow of life abroad, especially when plans derail and you are suddenly forced to navigate a new course of direction. My initial move to Paris was to pursue filmmaking, but after three weeks I was denied financial aid and had to re-evaluate my purpose there. Now, I can see how the abrupt change was a blessing in disguise. Forcing me to actively make the decision to pursue music while living in Paris, and to this day it is one of the best risks I have ever taken in life. Overall, I lived in Paris for a year and a half, working as a bilingual nanny during daylight hours, and singing/attending concerts at night. Paris is mesmerizing in the evening, how I still can clearly recall the familiar sounds of La Seine’s waters, and walking along cobblestone streets of the 7th district, where I was blessed to live in a charming little studio on Rue de Lille.
After a few months time, I quickly adapted to the French culture – reading a book while sipping on a sharp espresso, drinking fine wines & cognacs, being inspired by architecture at every corner, wandering the winding side streets in the rain, cherishing the stunning sky canvas as Mother Nature painted her miraculous sunrises & sunsets, transforming into an art lover by allowing masterpieces to drench my soul, admiring the rich history of such a city, expanding my palette for different cuisine and decadent baked goods, being bolder in my fashion choices, adapting to the Parisian accent while striving to constantly improve upon my communication skills.
Gosh, do I ever adore train stations, Gare Saint-Lazare is one of my favorites, they have a gorgeous platform filled with natural light, and the square outside has a quirky clock sculpture designed by French artist, Arman. Montmartre is a fascinating area to explore afoot, and singing at Amélie’s Cafe des Deux Moulins was a highlight of my life, as was singing to a packed house for the 2015 Paris Jazz Sur La Seine Festival; such a magical night. The Eiffel Tower sparkles with the utmost brilliance under the moonlight, as the Iron Lady was built through much resistance and yet cherished for centuries to come. I am eternally grateful to the many souls abroad who welcomed me into their lives, and to the travelers who allowed me to share my version of Paris with them.
An eternal Romantic, living in Paris taught me how to truly love the wild waves of emotions within myself, and how to embrace solitude. When you become your own best friend in life, then forgiveness for your own follies is much more easily attainable. From Unrequited to Unconditional Love, my soul was wrung out and elated beyond measure, as I learned about the eloquence in having ones heart rejected or joyfully filled to the brim. When you can love the wrong person to such an extent, imagine the divine serenity when you’ll one day manage to love the right person and have that love returned sevenfold. Moreover, Paris taught me how to live with an open heart, in all actions throughout the day, to trust my intuition. During the aftermath of the two major attacks in 2016, we collectively wept for those many lives who were lost. You could definitely feel a major shift echo throughout the city, but the French are resilient people.
I left for Paris in September 2014 and returned to Canada in April 2016. Those 18 months in Frnace offered me a glimpse of another world which has forever changed me, as a musician and as a woman. The Prairies are where I was born, but it was in Paris where I had begun to feel a sense of belonging. I am continually searching for my missing ‘home’, perhaps it shall be in Montréal someday?
For now, I am based out of Edmonton until I finish writing and record my sophomore album. I am presently very blessed to work with some of the top-tiered blues musicians in Canada, a group of seasoned players whom I greatly admire. It is an honor to perform with these gentlemen, as I did deeply miss Canada’s rich music scene of original artists.
Miss Rae’s Top Places in Paris
Best Large Venues:
• Le Trianon (Benjamin Clementine/Calexico)
• La Cigale (Leon Bridges)
• Crazy Horse (Dita Von Teese)
Best Small Music Venues:
• Caveau des Oubliettes (Blues Jam on Sundays)
• Sunside/Sunset (Jazz Jam on Mondays)
• Le Baiser Salé (Jazz Jam on Mondays)
• Musée d’Orsay
• Musée de l’Orangerie
• Musée Rodin
• Musée Gustave Moreau
• Le Louvre
• Le Petit Palais
• Centre Pompidou
• Pont D’Alexandre III
• Pont Royale
• Pont Saint-Louis
• Canal Saint Martin
Best Sacred Grounds:
• Paroisse Saint-Eustache
• Le Panthéon
• Église Saint-Sulpice
• Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
• Shakespeare & Co.
• Librarie l’Écume des Pages (Boul. Saint-Germain)
• Monet’s Lily Pond in Giverny, France
• Jardin des Tuileries
• Jardin du Luxembourg
• Parc Monceau
Best French Restaurants:
• BREIZH crêperie (Le Marais)
• Au Rendez-Vous des Artistes (Montmartre)
• Ti Jos crêperie (Montparnasse)