Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Little Bit of Africa in Paris

Hello everyone, I'm back! I did a bit of traveling this past month.  I spent several days in Orlando and then 10 wonderful days in Paris! I just returned on Monday.  Most of my Paris postings are on my other blog, so if you're interested, mosey on over and have a read.

While we were in Paris we visited the 18th arrondissement located on the Right Bank. It is mostly known for hosting the district of Montmartre which contains a hill dominated by the Sacre Coeur as well as the famous Moulin Rouge.
Goutte d'or is a tiny patch of Africa transplanted to Paris. The population is dense and it is one of the last neighborhoods of true working class people although change and modernization has already started.

When I planned our trip to Paris this time, I had a lot of ideas about things that I might want to do while there, but very few ideas about things I knew that I had to do. Taking an historical tour which celebrates the achievements of African Americans in Paris was at the top of my list of things to do!

Fleeing racism in America, African Americans ex patriots have contributed to the history of Paris since the 1800s.

I decided on Walking The Spirit Tours. The enlightening tour is the brain child of Julia Browne, prize-winning writer, journalist and speaker. Since I just had my leg cast removed a couple of days before my trip, I decided it might be best to take the walking tour "sitting down". Not a problem, because Julia Browne's tours offer an option of the tour by private car. She can also help with airport transportation and is a wealth of information regarding other things to do while in Paris. If you go to Paris I highly recommend taking this fascinating tour. Contact Julia and tell her I sent you! You won't be disappointed.

Bright and early on Saturday morning a private mini van arrived at our apartment to take us on a wonderful journey back in time. Our tour guide was Amena Moinfar, a passionate and knowledgeable Parisian of French/Middle Eastern origin.

During the 4 hour tour we criss crossed the city as Amena shared with us many little known facts about black history in Paris.

We learned about;
-Artists - which among others included; Henry O Tanner, Romare Bearden and August Savage.
Henry O Tanner's The Banjo Lesson

-Writers - Richard Wright and James Baldwin top the list of noteables.
#14 Rue Monsieur le Prince
Wright and his wife Ellen and their 2 daughters Rachel & Julia resided here for several years.
Richard Wright was invited to Paris by the French government in 1946. He decided to move to Paris after only being there for 7 months. He was following in the footsteps of Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Sidney Bechet and James Baldwin.

-The tour also included
Post WWII jazz greats Sidney Bechet, Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell and  Miles Davis.

The appointment of St-Germain-des-Prés : During 20's and 30's, then after the second world war, the hotel is the place of meeting of the most known jazzmen : Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bud Powell, Lester Young, Chet Baker, Mal Waldron, Archi Shep, Mal Waldron, ... like artists in love with St-Germain-des-près Like : Dennis Oppenheim, Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jim Morrison, Juliette Greco, Keith Haring, Lester Young, Mal Waldron, Miles Davis, Nam Jun Paik, Simone de Beauvoir, Tarantino, Boris Vian, Bertrand Tavernier, Ernest Hemingway, Lester Young, Henri Miller, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Antoine de Saint Exupery, Camille Desmoulins, Annabel Buffet, Anne-Marie Cazalis

-A trip through the Montparnasse Arts District

-The University of Paris

-Tour of the 1930s jazz clubs in the "black Montmartre" rue Fontaine

-The home of Sally Hemings

-Theatre des Champs Elysee where Josephine Baker performed

Our final stop on the tour was to Goutte d'or and the Nioumre Restaurant where we enjoyed a traditional Senegalese meal.

1 comment:

CHASON said...

Good job ! I won't be able to call this evening as my plane back to Paris is l e a v i n g as soon as I finish writing this. No Place Like Paris!