Paris, the City of Lights, is well-known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and vibrant culture. While many tourists flock to the classic sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs Elysees, there is a lesser-known side of Paris that is equally fascinating – its Black culture. This guide will take you on a journey through Paris, exploring the African diaspora's influence, Black-owned businesses, and the history of notable Black figures who have made a lasting impact on the city.
1. Walking Tours of Black History in Paris
Entrée to Black Paris
Entrée to Black Paris is a tour company founded by husband-and-wife Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells. They have been guiding tourists through Black Paris since 1999, offering customized itinerary planning and sharing their passion for French culture and African American history. Two of their popular tours are Black Paris after World War II and On the Grandest of Avenues.
Little Africa Tours
Created by Jacqueline Ngo Mpii, Little Africa Tours offers guided tours that explore African culture in Paris. Their Made in Goutte d'Or shopping walking tour takes you through the crossroad of African fashion and introduces you to craftsmen, tailors, and designers from Africa.
In The Footsteps of Josephine Baker Walking Tour
Discover the life of the iconic Josephine Baker through the eyes of dancer, singer, and historian Brian Scott Bagley, who takes you on a journey to the late-night haunts, nightclubs, shops, and other places that were significant to her life in Paris. The In The Footsteps of Josephine Baker walking tour is a unique and engaging way to learn more about this legendary woman.
2. Black-Owned Restaurants in Paris
Gumbo Yaya Chicken and Waffles
Gumbo Yaya is a must-visit for anyone craving soul food in Paris. With a menu featuring delicious chicken and waffles, waffle burgers, and chicken burgers, this restaurant is a true taste of Southern America in the heart of Paris.
À la Banane Ivoirienne
Delight your taste buds with a trip to the Ivory Coast at À la Banane Ivoirienne. Indulge in kebabs, stuffed crab, and the famous Aloko (diced fried banana) in a beautiful ambiance.
Located at 20 Rue Labat, Haïtian Mama is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience authentic Haitian cuisine in Paris.
If you're a fan of rum, BÔ is the place to be. With over 70 types of rums from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Mauritius, Venezuela, and Cuba, BÔ offers a wide array of Caribbean tapas to enjoy alongside your drink.
Waly Fay and O'maki
3. Photo Perfect Paris
Photo Perfect Paris is a Black-owned portrait photography company in Paris, France, run by a Brooklyn-born New Yorker. Capture your memories in the City of Light with stunning photography that truly reflects the essence of your Parisian experience.
4. Maison Noire Américaine
Founded in 2013, Maison Noire Américaine is a nonprofit organization designed to educate and inspire people about the African American presence, experience, and influence in France. Serving as a resource center and information portal, Maison Noire Américaine connects individuals interested in exploring the rich history of African Americans in France and today's African Diaspora communities in Paris and beyond.
5. James Baldwin Mediatheque
The city of Paris is continually evolving, and so are the spaces that celebrate black heritage. One exciting development is the upcoming James Baldwin Mediatheque, a new cultural space in the 19th district set to open in 2023. This institution will pay homage to the renowned writer and his values, as well as his activism for human rights. Additionally, the Collectif James Baldwin is petitioning to create an Afro-Francophone Cultural Center in Paris, further promoting black heritage as an essential part of French history.
6. Explore La Goutte d'Or: Little Africa
La Goutte d'Or, also known as Little Africa, is a vibrant neighborhood that offers a unique shopping experience. Here, you can find African fabrics, jewelry, and other souvenirs.
Maison Chateau Rouge
Maison Chateau Rouge is an excellent place to shop for urban street-style clothing that incorporates African wax prints.
Galerie Nelly Wandji
Galerie Nelly Wandji is a concept shop and art gallery space dedicated to African designers and artists. Located on Rue Faubourg Saint Honore, the gallery is a fantastic place to shop and discover up-and-coming artists and designers from the diaspora.
7. Unwind and Connect at Black-Owned Hotels
Rest and relaxation are essential during any trip, so why not unwind at one of Paris's black-owned hotels? These establishments offer a unique and welcoming experience that's perfect for the culturally curious traveler.
25hours Hotel Terminus Nord: A Cosmopolitan Refuge
The 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord is a stylish and modern escape in the heart of Paris's 10th arrondissement. Celebrating the district's cultural diversity, the hotel's decor is inspired by the vibrant African, Asian, Mediterranean, and Eastern cultures in the area. With colorful rooms, a charming Neni restaurant, and a lively Sape Bar, this hotel is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the city's multicultural ambiance.
8. Leave the Planning to Someone Else
Although Paris has a lot to offer in ways of Black culture, planning takes a lot of time and effort. So if you'd rather just have everything booked, scheduled, and planned. Then check out these great Black Travel Agents, that can plan customized Black experiences during your time in Paris.
The Parisian life travel agency by yanique
With over 16 years of experience, Yanique can create a custom itinerary that will make sure you experience all the best Black culture Paris has to offer. Follow her on Instagram for daily tips and insights for your Parisian adventure.
Black and abroad
Dedicated to helping Black people experience more of the world through travel and culture, Black and Abroad is all about uplifting, supporting, and expanding the travel experience of Black travelers.
If you're looking for a bespoke travel experience then BWPTravel is what you are looking for. With a talented and well-traveled team of expert travel consultants, they can plan a Paris trip that you won't soon forget.
As you embark on your journey to experience black culture in Paris, remember that this rich heritage is not just African history but world history. The contributions of the African diaspora to French society, whether through art, music, literature, or fashion, have undeniably shaped the city's cultural landscape. By exploring these spaces, engaging with the community, and embracing the diversity that Paris has to offer, you'll undoubtedly leave with a deeper appreciation for the city's unique charm and the vibrant black culture that flourishes within it.