(BLACK PR WIRE) One of the world’s top African American cities is thousands of miles away from the United States, yet Paris, France is a major part of African American history. Entertainer Josephine Baker, musician Sidney Bechet, and writers James Baldwin and Richard Wright are just a few notable African Americans who resided in France, finding French society freer than the racial segregation they encountered in the U.S.
Some of the French-African American connection started with U.S. troops stationed in France during World War I. African American jazz musician James Reese Europe and his military band traveled throughout France and performed for servicemen and civilians of various nationalities. His and other musicians’ influence introduced jazz music to Paris and to Europe in general. It was also during World War I that several African American military regiments fought successfully alongside French troops.
Travelers can take advantage of culturally-specific tour operators to experience the past and present of Paris. Most people have seen images of the Eiffel Tower, over one thousand feet high and a symbol recognized throughout the entire world. But there are other noteworthy attractions. The Champs-Élysées is a street with movie theaters, cafés and shops. The Musée Dapper is an art museum dedicated to African and Caribbean artwork, while the Musée du quai Branly carries tribal works from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. When you get hungry for food or for shopping, the neighborhood of Goutte D'Or with its African immigrant community has markets and restaurants featuring African cuisine. These are just some of the possibilities that will mark your “bon voyage” to Paris.