More than just names and dates, my tour is unique in that I provide my guests with a Paris orientation so you can get your bearings as quickly as possible and get up to speed on the French "cultural cues". You'll also learn how to navigate the city's metro and bus system, find the best places to change money, the best restaurants, the best local festivals and markets, museums, night clubs, and day trips into the French countryside."
We meet at a quaint restaurant near the Champs Elysees for your Black Paris Orientation! We then stroll over to the Arc de Triomphe, where your guide tells of the first great wave of African Americans coming to Paris in the 1800s. We describe the exploits of Black soldiers who distinguished themselves on French battle fields during World Wars I and II and the Champs Elysees Mansion where Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings came together in 1787, the beginning of a 38 year relationship.
A short bus ride takes us to a world famous concert hall where celebrated African American singers and jazz musicians performed... from Louis Armstrong, to Duke Ellington and from Miles Davis to Jessye Norman. Another short bus ride drops us at beautiful Parc Monceau to follow in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass, Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Henry O. Tanner, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells, Carter G. Woodson, Countee Cullen, Bessie Coleman, Langston Hughes, and Mary McCloud Bethune.
We stroll two blocks to stand before the monument recognizing France's abolition of the African slave trade and recalling the exploits of Napoleon's most famous Black general. Steps away, another statue is dedicated to the General’s son, Alexandre Dumas... the most famous French writer in history. A third statue, recalls the literary achievements of his son, the dramatist, Alexandre Dumas. With the Haitian Embassy overlooking this square, you’ll hear the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the successful 1791 revolt... making Haiti the first free Black Republic in the new world.
Another bus ride takes us past the building where author Dumas lived, then past the church dedicated to the African Saint Augustine -- a founder of the Catholic Church! Next we’ll see the Church where Josephine Baker was given a state funeral April 15th, 1975. We’ll pause at Place Concorde where the guillotine took the heads of thousands during the French Revolution, and where the US Embassy is headquartered.
Place Concorde is home to the oldest monument in Paris today, the African Obelisk.... an astronomical device used to chart the sun and the stars at the Temple of Thebes in Luxor. If time permits, we’ll hop another bus that will take us to fashion’s Ave Montaigne and the theatre where Josephine Baker exploded on stage in “La Revue Negre” in 1925 and where she opened her second “Chez Josephine” nightclub in 1937. This ends the two-thirds day tour.
For those taking the full day tour, we’ll hop the blue 42 bus to ride past the famous Olympia Concert Hall, where Black American Rock & Roll and R&B stars have performed since the 1950s. It’s the French equivalent of the Apollo in Harlem. Next stop, Opera Garnier! African American greats in the world of operatic and classical music have commanded this stage since the 1800s.
Next, the blue 42 bus takes us north to Barbes-Rochechouart in the 18th arrt, and a finger-licking “late lunch” with locals from Mali, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire or the island of Maurice. Even if you've never tasted African cuisine before, Chicken Yassa, Beef Maffe, Fish Tcheb, plantains (Aloko) and drinks like Bissap, Gingerbeer and Boabab juice will have you licking your fingers and sipping the last drop from your glass!
After our late lunch, we'll stroll through the Marche in "Little Africa"..... like a quick trip to Dakar, Accra or Abidjan. For the very hearty, your tour ends with mint tea and beignets in La Goutte d'Or. This is where the full day tour ends and we direct our travelers back to the Champs Elysees or to their hotels.
**Tour itinerary may be subject to variation due to seasonal or vacation closure of venues / restaurants.