Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Weekend in Paris

Are you traveling to Paris in 2011?  Take advantage of Discover Paris' Entrée to Black Paris™ SPECIAL OFFER for a discounted tour!  Click here to read more...


What could be more exciting than a weekend jaunt in Paris? Here is a walking itinerary that will give you a taste of the charm and beauty of the city as well as a glimpse of the African-American history that has unfolded there.

Day 1 – Plan on an inspiring combination of sightseeing and shopping with a visit to the Louvre, the neighboring Tuileries Garden and the Champs Elysées. The Louvre Museum and its glass pyramids juxtapose the beauty of Renaissance and modern architecture, while the commercial center under the pyramids will satisfy many of your shopping impulses. While browsing here, reflect upon the fact that African-American David Harmon was charged with completing a major part of the renovations done on the Louvre during the early 1990s.

Inverted pyramid in commercial center at the Louvre
© Discover Paris!

Emerge from the commercial center to view the splendid Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and visit the Tuileries Garden, then head for place de la Concorde.

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
© Discover Paris!

Jardin des Tuileries
© Discover Paris!

Once at the place, take a moment to look at the Palais Bourbon across the river – home to the French equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives, where distinguished politicians such as Martinique’s Aimé Césaire served and French Guiana’s Christiane Taubira continues to serve. Gaze upon the Luxor obelisk, where diva Jessye Norman sang France’s national anthem in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1989. Then look to the northwest corner of the square to see the Hôtel de Crillon, where Reginald Lewis launched his takeover of TLC Beatrice to become the first black billionaire in the history of the United States.

Obelisk of Luxor
© Discover Paris!

Proceed up the avenue des Champs Elysées for a look at its gardens dotted with pavilions that now serve as theaters and exclusive restaurants. Beyond the Rond Point (roundabout), the gardens give way to clubs, movie theaters and more restaurants and shopping as you approach the Arc de Triomphe.

Champs Elysées Gardens
© Discover Paris!

A detour onto avenue Montaigne will take you into the world of haute couture, where the greatest names in fashion await you. At the far end of this street is the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, where Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet took Paris by storm in the wildly successful show La Revue Nègre in 1925.

Dior - avenue Montaigne and rue François I
© Discover Paris!

Théâtre des Champs Elysées
© Discover Paris!

Day 2 – Spend the day exploring areas frequented by famous African Americans in Paris. The 5th arrondissement (district) is home to the Sorbonne, where several conferences on African-American culture were held in the 1990s. Venues such as the Salle de la Mutualité where Malcolm X spoke and place de la Contrascarpe where Chester Himes frequented a favorite café are among many that are significant to African Americans. Plan to have lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant near the Sorbonne before taking a stroll past the bouquinistes (the book vendors along the Seine), where you might find a surprise gift for an art or literature aficionado back home. From the quay, you will have an excellent view of Notre-Dame, which so inspired Richard Wright upon his arrival in Paris in 1946.

© Discover Paris!

© Discover Paris!

Notre Dame Cathedral
© Discover Paris!

A brief walk to the adjoining 6th arrondissement reveals sites such as the Odéon Theater where Ira Aldridge played Othello, the Café de Flore where James Baldwin socialized and rewrote Go Tell It on the Mountain, and the La Louisiane hotel that was home to numerous African-American jazzmen.

Théâtre de l'Odéon
© Discover Paris!

Café de Flore
© Discover Paris!

Consider complementing your promenade with a visit to the cafés and gourmet food shops on the rue de Buci to round out your brief but exhilarating stay in the City of Light.


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

No comments: