Photo Credit: F.J. Jimenez
Explore The History And Culture Of Black Paris With These Tours
Paris has a deep and interesting Black history, which includes numerous notable contributions and areas of influence from people of African descent.
What better way to discover the city’s Black heritage than through a guided tour from the Afrocentric perspective? There are several reputable companies offering Black Paris tours on a variety of topics. Here are a few tour companies providing tours focusing on the Black experience in the City of Light.
1. Entrée to Black Paris
Entrée to Black Paris is a company providing visitors a look at Black Paris and its legacy through its various informative tours. The company offers more than a dozen different tour options, including:
- Black Paris After World War II, a walking tour highlighting the lives of various Black writers as well as contemporary Black French associations.
- The Spirit of Africa, which explores the Château Rouge area and its various African restaurants, shops, and food vendors.
- On the Grandest of Avenues, a tour taking you to the iconic Champs Elysées and the surrounding area, delving into its little known Black history.
- Josephine’s Suburban Paradise, a three-hour tour in the Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet, to visit Le Beau Chêne, the mansion that Josephine Baker owned and called home for eighteen years, as well as the church she attended.
2. Walk the Spirit Tours
Founded in 1994 by Julia Brown, Walk The Spirit Tours pioneered Black heritage tours in Paris. Today, the company offers various walking and bus tours, which include:
- The Entertainers in the 1920s Lower Montmartre, which transports you back to Black Montmarte in the 20s to hear the stories of Black artists and entertainers, such as Josephine Baker, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, and Sidney Bechet.
- Africa in Paris, during which tourists visit the city’s La Goutte d’Or neighborhood with its bustling and vibrant open-air markets, salons, cultural venues, and shops, to explore both the neighborhood’s past and where it is today.
- Black Images in the Louvre, a tour exploring and discussing depictions of Black people in art throughout time.
- Colonialism, Slavery & AntiSlavery walk, a tour visiting famous sites and uncovering the stories behind the institutions of colonialism and slavery in Paris, as well as those who worked to end them.
3. Le Paris Noir
Le Paris Noir was created in 2013 by Parisian tour guide Kévi Donat. He was inspired to launch the company after seeing how many visitors seemed to be surprised and intrigued by the city’s Black populations.
Le Paris Noir offers a Right Bank tour, from the Moulin Rouge to Château-Rouge, and a Left Bank tour, from the Place du Panthéon to the Place de la Sorbonne.
- The Right Bank Tour begins in Pigalle, delving into the arrival of African American artists in France in the 1920s, and continues on to the Goutte d’Or district, with its incredible history and diversity, and continuous evolution over time.
- The Left Bank Tour visits places where some of the city’s most influential Black figures have gathered and made history, from the Place des Grands Hommes to Saint-Germains.
4. Black Paris Tours
Black Paris Tours CEO Ricki Stevenson founded her company in 1998. The former news anchor and talk show host holds a master’s degree in history, with an emphasis on African and African American studies.
Black Paris Tours’ full day tour is offered as a walking or bus tour, and allows tourists to get acquainted with the city and its rich Black heritage through interesting stories and little known facts.
The tour company also offers private tours as well as sit-down breakfast orientations for those who have difficulty walking.
5. American Concierge
Established in 2014, American Concierge‘s Black history tours include several walking tours and a driving tour.
- Pioneers of the Left Bank takes visitors on a tour of what is now the city’s Latin Quarter. The neighborhood is the birthplace of the Pan-African literary and political movement known as “La Négritude.” From there, continue on to the Saint-Germain neighborhood, an area popular among many famous Black American expats after WWII.
- Swing of the Right Bank takes participants on a tour of Paris’ Piagalle neighborhood, once known as “Harlem sur Seine.” After delving into its early jazz scene, the tour ends in the city’s largest African neighborhood, La Goutte d’Or.
- Like Entrée to Black Paris, American Concierge also hosts a Black Paris Post World War II tour highlighting the lives of many Black literary icons. The company also offers special tours dedicated to individual writers like Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin.
6. Colesville Travel
Colesville Travel‘s Black Paris Tour is an 11-day adventure providing a complete immersive cultural experience. Beginning in Paris, the tour explores the lives of the city’s historically influential Black residents and neighborhoods.
From Black art, entrepreneurs, and jazz of the 20s and 30s to Black images at the Louvre, contemporary Black music, and dining at Black-owned restaurants, the tour is designed to give you the knowledge of the city’s vibrant Black past and present.
After leaving Paris, the tour continues in the Bordeaux wine region to explore vineyards, wine cellars, and the life and home of the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker.