Interview & visit: Meïsō in Paris, France

Maïté Breger had been in a relationship with her partner Alexandre Kournwsky for a month when they started building their own float tank which they were going to turn into a business. But what’s even more impressive: both were in their early 20’s when they opened up their float space, Meïsō (Japanese for meditation). Three years later, they’re about to open the second float center with several tanks in France (the first being Les bulles à flotter – click to find out more about my visit and recommendation). Their new center will also be in a basement and have three cabins to cater to people who experience claustrophobia.

Maïté and Alex have always interested in alternative medicine, meditation, healing techniques, consciousness, altering states of the mind etc. When Alex came across floating, they went to Floatworks in London (my interview with them coming soon) and floated three times within one week. During these very first floats, Maïté already visualized her own float center, which she says, looked like Meïsō, where we talked and I got a chance to get to know her and float as well.

flotteur_appesanteur_meiso

 

Due to financial reasons, the couple decided to create their own tanks. The first seven mold was printed with a 3D-printer, then came fiberglass. She recounts the first float in her own tank as terrible, not because of their construction, but because she was so fearful of what their future would bring.

Part of this fear came from floating being a totally unknown concept in France back when they first started. Centers that used to exist had all closed years ago, also because “the French are slow when it comes to alternative medicine,” Maïté explains. To spread the word about floating, Maïté and Alex reach out to bloggers and journalists, present floating at health events, and strongly rely on word of mouth.

People from all walks of life come in, a lot from the IT industry. 30% of their customers have monthly memberships. Most are curious, some stressed out. A lot of them have heard about floating from – you guessed it – Joe Rogan.

Maïté explains that the best part of having center is to “have people floating, when they tell you about their experiences, and how they feel. […] It’s meeting great people because people that come here are great people. Most of them. Like 99.9%. You just want to hug them but you don’t because we’re not a hugger country.” She laughs. “Sometimes we do.” She also loves working alongside her partner.

Some of the no-go’s for a float center Maïté mentioned were owners not instructing people on how to float. Also, she advises not to analyze people’s float experiences, but rather just to listen. No judging should be going on. She also stresses that it is important to have a transition before going into the real world.

logo-meiso

 

Now, if you want to visit Meïsō (the current one, not the new one that’s soon opening), here’s what you can expect:

Meïsō is located in a courtyard off the street – to find it, you enter underneath the opening gate with their street number, walk through courtyard, enter into something that looks like a co-working space, and take a flight of steps down to the basement. A bit complicated, but people outside will gladly help you find it.

 

Inside, Maïté and Alex have put a lot of emphasis on making their space as close to nature as possible with lots of stones, grass, and wood incorporated in their design. The space is relatively small, but very cozy. They provide everything you need for a float and the care after; however, they do not offer conditioner. If you need some, prepare to bring your own.

The room with the tank is pretty dark and you can barely see anything, so if you use glasses to see in the dark, don’t forget to bring them! Their tank is great (no water drops dripping on me and the airflow was great as well), but I just found it to be a bit small; taller people than me (5’10 or 178cm) may touch the sides.

cabine_flottaison_meiso

 

The float room is just for you to dress and shower, outside there’s a little area with a blow dryer, lotion, hair and beauty products. After your float, you have the chance to relax with some tea, books, and pens at a table which you will share with Maïté and Alex, depending on who’s present.

salon
What kind of floatation devices:
1 self-made tank
I recommend this center to:
– nature lovers
– first time floaters
I don’t recommend this center for people who:
– are taller than 5’10
– have trouble seeing in the dark

 

 

 

 

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