Olivia BA1: PROTESTANT CHRISTIAN: I’ve lived in Paris since January 2018 and managed to quickly find an international protestant church called ‘The Bridge International Church’ in Rueil Malmaison (just on the outskirts of Paris) ran by an American pastor. I was also able to quickly get involved in serving the team. I am on the live worship team playing guitar/ keyboard and singing every week which I love being a part of. I have made a second family here at this church and I love it. I’ve been able to introduce some of my new friends at ULIP to the church which they also enjoy, whether religious or not. There are people from all over the world such as the UK, the US, Africa, Asia and I’ve met a few Australians. It’s the best part of my week...besides all my lectures at ULIP of course ! The fact I live in Paris hasn’t put up any language barrier with my religion as I’m able to spend a day a week speaking purely English and it’s great to keep it going when your main language becomes French.
Heather BA1: CHRISTIANITY: I go to an international church just outside of Paris which is mostly made up of Americans and Africans as well as a few people from the UK. It’s a protestant church and has a real community feel to it, there are often new members like myself who are instantly welcomed in. We do a lot of singing during out Sunday services and there are several smaller groups that meet up during the week. I have started going to a Bible Study/ prayer group for Students and Young professionals that runs on Wednesday nights and have found it is a great way to meet people and is a real open space for people to share their problems and stresses in life and to support one another. It can be difficult to express religion nowadays to friends/ families who don’t share the same beliefs and having a church group is a real support for your mental and spiritual health. There are also opportunities to get involved with community projects which I plan to do once I’ve settled into Paris more.
Anonymous BA3: SIKHISM: The Sikh place of worship is called a Gudwara which is used to signify the gateway through which the Guru could be reached, Guru meaning teacher/god. There is one called Singh Sabha Gudwara, found in Bobigny (just on the outskirts of Paris). The Gudwara is a great way of keeping up any language skills as I grew up speaking Punjabi, the Gudwara is a community where I can continue this. This place of worship welcomes anyone, of any caste, creed, race or religion; they hold something called a 'langar' which is a serving of food on Sundays and in bigger Gudwaras, this happens everyday. Here people volunteer (and you can too) to serve food to everyone that enters the temple. This is a great place to go, whether you are Sikh and wanting to continue your religious lifestyle out in Paris or whether you would like to learn more about Sikhism and enjoy some North Indian food at the same time. You can also find out more on this website: http://gssfcs.com/
HINDUISM: I grew up in a very strong Hindu environment at home, and I would go to the Mandir every Saturday in a tight knit community of other Hindus and there I would also learn how to read and write in Hindi as well as learn Hindi Bhajans and Mantras. Coming to Paris, I was exposed to the variation of the Hindu community here, there is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesh in the 18th arrondissement called 'Temple Sri Manika Vinaygar Aalyam' which follows more South Indian Traditions. There is also an ISKCON Radha Krishna Mandir in Sarcelles (95), I haven't been to this temple, however I am more than happy to go with someone if you'd like some company. You can find their website here : https://radhaparisisvara.wixsite.com/accueil Margarita BA1 QUAKERISM: Although Quakerism is not as widespread here as in the U.K., there is an International Quaker Centre here in Paris, at 114 Rue Vaugirard (75006) (Fairly central so easy to reach from most areas). The meeting is held here every Sunday morning from 11-12. The meeting is mainly attended by British and American expats, as well as a few french attendees. Most members are bilingual, so this could be a great opportunity to practice your french (although if you’d prefer English for once, people would understand). The meeting follows the same structure as most British meetings for worship ; starting with silence, and once the meeting has started to settle, people may begin to minister (standing up and speaking as they feel moved to). this is likely to be done in French and repeated in English. All attenders, whether regulars or just visitors are absolutely welcome to minister in whatever language is most comfortable. (But please remember to leave a few minutes after a previous ministry to allow time for reflection). If you have time afterwards there’s a shared lunch with plenty for veggies and carnivores alike. Everyone is welcome to join, but it’s polite to drop them an email beforehand just to let them know you’re coming. email@example.com
Ifrah (BA1) ISLAM 1. How did you find your place of worship in Paris? As a Muslim, the centre of worship is the Mosque. Luckily enough, I came across a huge mosque via Google - it’s called the Grande Mosquée de Paris and it’s in the 5th (which isn’t too far from Uni)
2. Is the way you worship in Paris any different to how you worship at home? I wouldn’t say so. The only difference would probably coming to terms with Laïcité and it's ramifications
3. How does your religious practice help you in your life here? My religious practice allows me to be time conscious. My day revolves around the five daily prayers which could span from 5AM-9PM. As a result, I’m more aware of the tasks that both university and social life demand. My religious practice also allows me to contemplate my purpose and the goals I wish to achieve during the duration of my studies.
4. Is there anything else you would like fellow muslims to know about what it's like to be a muslim in the city? any advice or anecdotes or something like that? There are plenty of muslims in Paris and there is no doubt about it. Paris is a dynamic city full of many demographics. You may feel a pressure to adjust and conform, and that’s fine. What is also fine is to be comfortably and unapologetically you (for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike).
Charles (BA3) Evangelical Christian: It's all been said really but if anyone is interested in a young, lively and evangelical french speaking church, then CVV at 48 Rue de Lille is amazing. It's pretty close to uni and their services are at 6pm so you can still have a good Sunday lie-in! Everyone there is so lovely and it's been crucial to me strengthening my faith and making some amazing french friends. Chloe (BA2) GREEK ORTHODOX: Whilst I am aware that being Greek Orthodox is not exactly a likely occurrence in ULIP, I felt that by being able to find somewhere to call my own home away from home, it might make others feel more optimisitic about finding their own in Paris. Originally, I wanted to go to Greek church in Paris in order to meet fellow Greeks and practise my second language as well as to find a place that could remind me of my family. I did a simple google search for Greek Orthodox church’s in Paris and it responded with two options, one holding services in Russian, the other in Greek. Though it narrowed my options, it definitely made the decision easier! Since I started attending in January of 2018, I have met so many lovely Erasmus students, found an opportunity to have Greek lessons and even met a fellow ULIP student. For me, being of Greek Orthodox religion is all about the traditions and the people whom I share these experiences which I felt I gained when I joined Agios Stefanos’ (Saint Stephen) Church.