Saint Germain des Prés, a place I got tipped off about in a dream


a snapshot of my cell screen

Okay, let me see when this happened. The screenshot in my phone is from December the 7th, 2016, 8:01 am. It means I had this dream on the night of Dec 6 to Dec 7.

I dreamed about some place abroad. I was outside an old building, standing on the line to a movie theater with other. Suddenly, some kind of employee of that place walked out of his booth, holding a phone receiver in his hand.

“Does anybody speak Russian here”, he addressed the crowd.

“I do”, I said.

“Could you pick up. Someone needs help here”, he told me and gave me the receiver (or maybe it was a portable radio phone.

“Hello!” I said into the phone.

“Hi, is this Alexandra Leonidovna?” asked me a female voice with a thick French accent. I was shocked she knew my first and my paternal name, because I was supposed to be a total stranger to her.

“Yes, it’s me,” I replied.

“Do you know where in Paris is located the church of San Germain du pre?” she asked (I’m misspelling the name of the church to reflect her French pronunciation with the nasal “ung” and “dew” sounds).

“I don’t know…” I replied in confusion. Hastily, I racked my brain for this name. The only Parisian church I could think of was Notre Dame. I also remembered D’orsay and the Louvre for some reason. “But I can check on the map in my phone”, I said. But the woman on the phone had already hung up.

***

Then there was a leap in my dream. I could see this old church, Said Germain des Prés, simultaneously from the inside and the outside. Inside there were two men guards. Outside, there was a woman who looked a bit like a vagabond or a beggar. She was pregnant.

“I need to go inside”, she told the guards. For some reason it was important that she gave birth to the baby inside of this church.

One of the guards was a skeptic, and he said: “Look at her, she must be mad!” But his partner guard could feel that there was something unusual about the woman and the whole situation. He said: “Wait, maybe it is us who is actually crazy, not her”.

I don’t know what happened eventually, for I woke up in my bed.

***

The first thing I did upon waking up was, of course, I google the name of the church. My eyes got really big when I saw that not only there was a church by the exact name, but also that Saint Germain des Prés was the single oldest church in the whole of Paris!

It was the first Christian church ever built in Paris. And it’s still there today!

Because I had this dream in December, it was almost New Year’s Eve. I did not have the time or the opportunity to go to Paris.

I waited for almost one year to do it. Towards the end of 2017, I decided I’d go to Paris for New Year’s and would visit the church while I was there.

There were almost no hotels left. Finally I found a not-entirely-horrible place in Les Gobelins. Because I was learning Japanese at that time, I miraculously attracted Japanese people. The guy at the front desk looked Japanese, but I didn’t want to question him about his country of origin.

My roommate, though, turned out to be a Malaysian guy who was born and was living in Japan. He told me I could call him “Lin-san”, while he would call me “Alesia-chan”. Actually, the Japanese use “chan” instead of “san” when they talk to babies, little kids and teenagers. I was flattered that I must have appeared quite young to him 😉

In the morning of December the 31st, I set out on my trip to Saint Germain des Pres. The forecast predicted rain, and there were some omnious-looking clouds in the sky. I decided to take a longer route to a far-away metro station, because it’d be inconvenient to get there from Rue de Gobelins. As I was walking to the station, my heart skipped a bit. In a flash, I remembered that this had happened to me before. I’ve seen this over-the-street train, this route and this area a long time ago in another dream. I stopped and made a short video for myself.

on my way to the church

I was destined to undertake this journey a long time ago.

As I reached the square where Saint Germain is located, there were not that many tourists there. I guess it’s a place that’s more popular with the locals. There were about a dozen Christmas tents selling food, pastry and some souvenirs. Suddenly, the sky cleared the sun came out. It felt as if I was in a dream. With my gaze slightly blurred, I was looking around the place, as if in a trance. Then I decided to go inside.

There was a statue of a woman with a baby (probably of Virgin Mary) at the far end of the church that sent chills down my spine, don’t know why. I also found the tomb of John II Casimir Vasa (I know his name from a common historical period shared by Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus). Now, I read in Wikipedia:

He [the king] died on December 16, 1672 from apoplexy, and his burial took place inside the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków. His heart was interred in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

How strange is that!

Now, they say the Abbey (and later the church) were founded by Saint Germain, a bishop of Paris. It’s a burial site of many kings. Also, until the 17th century, the church “owned” a major part of Paris and was one of its administrative centers.

And, of course, I can’t help thinking of the mysterious Saint Germain (the theosophical figure.) Just to clarify, this isn’t the same man as the Bishop Saint who founded the Abbey.

I spent close to an hour inside Saint Germain des Prés. After all, it was the main reason I flew to Paris to see off the year 2017. When I left the church, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining. I bought some fried potatoes with mushrooms from the street fair around the church. As I was standing there, eating my food, two women asked me:

“Excuse me, are you American?”

“Nope”, I shook my head. Don’t know why I remember that incident. And don’t know why they asked.

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