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Paris is a Woman

Over mediocre sushi with Notre Dame looming behind us, Paris-based astrologer, Eric Francis, and I agreed: Paris is a Woman.

This is no new theme. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have written on this concept. Millions have sensed it, but not known why or have even fully realized the power of it.

When I questioned why, he explained, “She is a Virgo. London is Capricorn. New York is Aries. The chart of a city or country can be based on the date of its founding or reorganization. Other times, astrologers seem to reach a consensus of the energy of a place, and it just seems obvious. Locales and countries have birth signs, and you can often feel the qualities like you can tell an apple from a grapefruit. You can feel them in the behavior of the people, the local attitudes and the way of life.”

The great theosophical leader Alice Bailey wrote, “This Virgin (Virgo) was the founder of the matriarchy which then dominated civilization and to which various myths and legends bear evidence and which have come down to us concerning Lilith, the last Virgin Goddess of Atlantean times.” Eric went on to explain, “In other words, the sign Virgo represents the feminine principle of divinity in its entirety.”

As I started on my walk home, I stopped in at Shakespeare & Company to pick up a copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” — it seemed appropriate to the conversation we had just had — that I should make a deeper study into the nature of women, the nature of my own femininity and that which seems to define Paris as a woman.

Continuing on my route, I walked past “Our Lady,” remembering that today was the Catholic holiday “Assomption.” The Feast of the Assumption honors the Virgin Mary’s departure from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven. Alice Bailey also associates Virgo with Mary, “who carries the [evolutionary] process down to the plane or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and there gives birth to the Christ child.”

As I passed the open doors of the cathedral, I could see the dark cavernous nave, a display of some sort at the inner core, seductively luring you in, realizing that Notre Dame was in fact, the “womb” of the city of Paris. It’s the very center of Paris, known as “Kilometer Zero” from which all distances in France are measured.

In an interview in 2002 on NPR Radio of Alistair Horne, author of “The Seven Ages of Paris,” Steve Inskeep asks, “You write very early on in the book that Paris is, in your view, ‘a sexy and beautiful but also turbulent, troublesome and excessively violent woman.'” He replied, “Yes. I mean, does anybody doubt that Paris is a woman? I think London is a man, is male. Never quite sure about New York. It seems to have both assets of plus and minus, male and female. Perhaps not entirely sure itself. But Paris is definitely a woman. And what is so fascinating is that I think the moods of Paris are very much more feminine than masculine. The swings of mood from sweet, beautiful, adorable Paris to the violent, turbulent fiends.”

Crossing the Seine onto the Ile Saint-Louis and then to the Right Bank, I heard a woman singing at Paris Plage below the bridge to take advantage of the fine acoustics. This idea that Paris is a Woman stayed with me and haunts me even now.

Jokingly, before saying our “à bientôts,” Eric added “In Paris, we have a drug store every 50 meters. If the fussy attitudes of the locals don’t give it away, this is a sure sign that the city is a Virgo. There’s also a particular goddess-like quality of the women. But they should be less fussy, because that doesn’t suit a goddess well.”

A la prochaine…







Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Eric Francis’ Astro Paris reappears this coming Wednesday in Parler Paris Previews Weekly Community Calendar and be sure subscribe to his astrologically profound writings at

P.P.S. While traveling to San Francisco and New York, my apartment will be available for rental in its entirety. Scroll down to Classified Ads for more information.


* Novelist, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how….

* The 4TH EDITION OF THE PARIS POETRY WORKSHOP with Cecilia Woloch is now taking registrations. With a limited attendance of 15, I suggest you book now! See /parlerparis/poetry/parisoctober2005.html for more information.

* You are invited to attend the THE ART OF TROMPE L’OEIL SEMINAR here in Paris December 29 – January 2 with internationally renowned trompe l’oeil muralist and educator, Yves Lanthier! For more information, visit


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