Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dr. Monique Y. Wells Honored as an Outstanding Woman in Travel Research

I am pleased to announce that I have been named an Outstanding Woman in Travel Research by Women in Travel and Tourism International (witti)!

The organization held its first "Top Women in Travel" award ceremony earlier this month and selected the winners from over eighty nominees. The awards are the first of their kind in which women have honored their peers for outstanding contributions to the travel and tourism industry.

"It's important to highlight the very significant contributions of women working in travel and tourism today," said Mandala Research CEO and witti founder Laura Mandala. "These champions of travel and tourism are not only advancing their companies and the industry, but are also mentoring and recruiting the next generation of travel professionals."

Mandala said that witti strives to serve as a forum for increasing the low numbers of women represented at the most senior levels in the travel industry.

I was nominated in three categories:

- Lifetime Achievement in Travel & Tourism
- Outstanding Woman in Travel Blogging
- Outstanding Woman in Travel Research.

The awards recognize excellence in achievement for the following fields and endeavors: Destination Management/Marketing, Hospitality, Shopping Tourism, Travel and Transportation, Travel and Tourism, Tourism Marketing, Travel Blogging, Travel/Tourism Media, Travel Research, and Mentoring in Travel and Tourism.

Those who follow this blog know that I am committed to researching and sharing information on the African diaspora in Paris and gourmet Paris. Discover Paris! began by providing information on these (and other topics) in self-guided itineraries in 1999 and has since evolved to become a provider of private, guided tours and activities that focus solely on these two topics. Our work supports two Strategic Focus Areas (Travel / Study Abroad and The Arts, including culinary arts) for my non-profit organization, the Wells International Foundation (WIF).

Women's Empowerment is another WIF Strategic Focus Area. I am pleased to have been recognized as part of witti's inaugural group of award recipients because of witti's commitment to supporting, educating, and advocating for women who work in the travel industry.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Black Nun of Moret

Louise Marie-Therese, the Black Nun of Moret (1664-1732)
1695 Artist unknown
Image in public domain

Louise Marie-Thérèse was known as the Black Nun of Moret. She is said to have lived her entire life in a convent but that she only took the veil at the late age of 31. The portrait shown above hangs in the Bibliothèque (library) Sainte-Geneviève, located next to the Pantheon in Paris.

Rumors abound that Marie-Thérèse was the daughter of Queen Marie-Thérèse (Maria Theresa of Spain), wife of Louis XIV. The baby's father was reportedly the queen's African dwarf, Nabo.

Others believe that Marie-Thérèse was fathered by Louis XIV and that her mother was one of the king's many concubines.

It's virtually certain that the truth will never be known. If you're up for some titillating reading about this royal affair, here are some sources to peruse:

The Queen's Mystery Daughter

The Moorish Kings of Europe: Louise Marie-Theresa Daughter of Louis XIV of France

The Black Nun of Moret

Bonne lecture!


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cool Links for Black Culture in Paris

I'm traveling for the next two weeks and am not able to do any in-depth reporting on events, etc. in Paris during that time. To keep the blog active during the first week of my absence, I've put together a short list of Web sites that I think you'll find entertaining. Enjoy!

Art/Afrique, le Nouvel Atelier

The Fondation Louis Vuitton is hosting two exhibitions of contemporary African art plus a selection of works from the Foundation's permanent collection.

La Fondation Louis Vuitton building created by Frank Gehry in Paris
2014 Valueyou (Creative Commons License)

Nothing but the Wax

A fashion, beauty, and lifestyle site for black francophone millennials. Don't worry - there's an English language version!

Jamaica Jamaica!

This exhibition brings together rare memorabilia, photographs, visual art, audio recordings and footage unearthed from private collections and museums in Jamaica, the United States and Great Britain.


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Latin America and Caribbean Week in France

On February 11, 2011, the French Senate voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to celebrate the cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean on May 31 of each year. The festivities, which were meant to strengthen France's ties with this region of the world, grew every year.

In 2014, the French government under President François Holland renamed the celebration "Semaine de l'Amérique Latine et des Caraïbes" (Latin America and Caribbean Week). The celebration continues to grow, including ever more numerous and diversified activities. Despite its name, events have always been programmed over a period of twelve to fourteen days. The ambassadors of Latin American and Caribbean countries in France plan their own events alongside those organized by the French.

One hundred thirty-seven (137) events have been organized in and around Paris for the 2017 edition of the celebration. These include exhibitions, tastings, concerts, film screenings, and masterclasses. Though the celebration officially ends on June 9, several events are scheduled for the days and weeks following. Examples include the Jamaica, Jamaica! exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris (through August 13, 2017),

the Americas Collection Festival at Parc de la Villette (June 15-18, 2017),

and the Impressions Mémorielles (Memorial Impressions) exhibition at the Musée de l'Homme (through July 10, 2017)

For more information about the Semaine de l'Amérique Latine et des Caraïbes (in French), click HERE.


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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dapper Museum to Close Definitively

I couldn't believe it when one of the persons on my most recent Black Paris after WWII tour told me that the Musée Dapper is closing definitively - next month!

Musée Dapper façade
© Discover Paris!

As soon as I got home, I went to the Internet to look for the press release she said the museum had published. What I found was a dozen articles by Le Monde, France 24, Le Figaro, and other Francophone media outlets reporting this news.

Hoping against hope, I called the museum. They confirmed it.

A private institution, the Dapper has been in full-fledged competition with the Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac since the latter museum opened in 2006. As one of the articles about the closure points out, the quai Branly has a gigantic budget that the Dapper cannot begin to match. This, coupled with the success of recent major exhibitions of African art hosted by venues such as the Fondation Cartier and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, has resulted in fewer visitors for the Dapper.

So it is for financial reasons that the museum will close its doors for good on Sunday, June 18. Co-founder and director Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau will sell the building at 35 bis, rue Paul Valéry in the 16th arrondissement. But the Dapper will live on through temporary exhibitions of its extraordinary collection in Africa and the Caribbean.

Those who understand spoken French may wish to watch an interview that Falgayrettes-Leveau gave to Le Monde Afrique correspondent Estelle Odéma by clicking HERE (interview dated 24 May 2017).

Estelle Onéma and Christianne Falgayrettes-Leveau
Screenshot from Le Monde Afrique interview

The current exhibition at the Dapper - Chefs-d'oeuvre d'Afrique - will be on display through June 18 (not June 17 as indicated on the flier below). I saw this show months ago and highly recommend it. So if you haven't seen it yet, NOW is the time!


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