Paris Noir: The African American Experience

Paris Noir: The African American Experience

Following World War I, many African-Americans — from jazz musicians to scholars — found a home in Paris, the City of Light. During this seven-night journey, trace the rich history of the city’s African-American community on specially designed walking tours and talks, watch a documentary about the African-American influence in 1920s’ and 1930s’ Paris and meet the filmmakers for a Q&A session, and listen to the music that entranced the city at a jazz concert. Along the way, enjoy quintessential Parisian experiences: the cuisine, a Seine cruise and traveling on the Métro.

Trip Itinerary:

September 8 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Paris, France. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: CDG.

Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

September 9 Paris, France

Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Hotel Les Jardins du Marais. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Discovery: Welcome to Paris.
Get to know the neighborhood around your hotel and learn how to use Paris’ famous Métro subway.

Tonight, at the hotel, join your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Welcome Dinner.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

September 10 Paris

Discovery: Paris’ African American History.
Today, get an introduction to African American history in Paris during a city tour. Discover the Paris that welcomed Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, and other African American luminaries. From Sally Hemings to Richard Wright, African Americans have long found an acceptance in Paris that they did not find at home in the United States. See the favorite haunts of Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and others as you ride along the Champs Elysees, drive through the Latin Quarter, and see other Paris districts. Then take a short stroll through the artsy neighborhood that was home to Henry Ossawa Tanner, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, and other writers and entertainers from the African American expatriate community.

Conclude the tour with lunch at a local Parisian restaurant.

Free Time: Enjoy some time at leisure to discover the city. You may wish to stay in Le Marais, where the narrow lanes give you an idea of what the area looked like during the Middle Ages. Browse through art galleries and stylish boutiques or stroll through Place des Vosges, Paris’ first square.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

September 11 Paris

Enrichment: Paris Noir.
Watch a screening of the 2016 documentary, Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light. The film explores the relationship between Paris and African American expatriates in the decades following World War I. A question-and-answer session follows with the film makers.

Discovery: Harlem in Paris.
Explore Montmartre and learn about the influence of the Harlem Renaissance and jazz on Paris. The soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment are credited with introducing jazz to Europe during World War I. Nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters by the Germans for their valiant and fearless fighting on the battlefield, the unit had a huge impact on French culture. Before the Hellfighters returned home with medals on their chests, they left the French hungry for American jazz. As the seminal Harlem Renaissance blossomed in New York, a similar movement bloomed in Paris’ Montmartre district. The city fell in love with the cultural scene created by African American musicians, entertainers, and club owners. See the nightclubs owned by legends Bricktop and Eugene Bullard, and learn how African American culture influenced European culture.

Free Time: The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. The city is filled with historic landmarks, museums, world-class shopping and more! Don’t miss the opportunity to walk down the Champs Élysées, one of the most recognizable boulevards in the world, to the Arc d’Triomphe, or go to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the best view of the city.

Discovery: An Evening of Jazz.
Trace the evolution of French jazz during a tour of St-Germain-des-Pres and the Latin Quarter. After World War II, African-American jazz musicians played to adoring audiences at the clubs here. Learn why the clubs are called “caves” and hear stories about the great musicians that graced their stages. Settle in at the jazz club to enjoy a delicious dinner, followed by a concert.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

September 12 Paris

Discovery: Flavors of France.
Step into the world of French gastronomy during a walking tour. Taste several of Paris’ artisan-made foods and discover the flavors that define French cuisine. Stroll through the area north of the 9th arrondissement, nibble on a baguette, sip full-bodied wine and sample delicate French cheeses. Cap off your foodie excursion with a sampling of dessert.

Discovery: The Louvre.
Join an expert guide in the Louvre Museum to examine how people of color are depicted through centuries of masterpieces and why. Along the way, discuss the artistic and cultural significance of these works of art. After your tour, explore the Louvre’s collections on your own.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast

September 13 Paris

Free Time: Choose to spend one of your last days at leisure in Paris or join today’s Elective Excursion to Versailles. Your Travel Director will be available to offer suggestions on sightseeing, shopping and dining.

Elective Excursion: Versailles.
Travel to France’s grandest palace today. Versailles, a baroque chateau that was once the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court, delights visitors with its ornately painted ceilings, rich tapestries, and lavish galleries. Step back in time and walk in the footsteps of kings, queens, and courtiers. Visit the palace, its manicured, ornamental gardens, the Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. See the Hall of Mirrors, the lavishly decorated room where the Treaty of Versailles was signed. After your guided tour, enjoy some time at leisure for lunch and exploring on your own. Perhaps view the remarkable Neptune Fountain or stroll the labyrinth walkways and paths of the gardens. Return to Paris and the hotel late in the day. Dinner and the evening are at leisure.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast

September 14 Paris

Enrichment: An African American Writer in Paris Today.
Award-winning writer Jake Lamar, a Bronx transplant in Paris, discusses his experiences in Paris, where he has lived for several years. A Harvard University graduate and former writer for Time magazine, Lamar has written six novels, a play, a memoir, and many short stories, essays and articles.

Discovery: The Left Bank.
The African-American community flourished on the Left Bank, but so did other communities of the African diaspora. See where the Revue du Monde Noir, “Review of the Black World,” a groundbreaking magazine that grew from a salon hosted by two sisters from Martinique, was published. Learn about intellectuals, such as Anna Cooper and Carter G. Woodson. Born into slavery in 1858, Cooper earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1924. Woodson, who studied at the Sorbonne in the early 1900s, was a pioneer in the field of black studies. In the 1940s, many African American veterans, using benefits from the GI Bill, also enrolled at the Sorbonne. Also, learn more about the bebop style of jazz and the musicians who flocked to Paris to play their music. See where musicians, such as Miles Davis and Bud Powell, lived and played their music.

Free Time: The afternoon is free to explore on your own. Take in some of the city’s wonderful museums or stroll through the Luxembourg Garden.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast

September 15 Paris

Discovery: Paris by Boat.
Cruise the Seine River for a different perspective of this magnificent city. While gliding along this storied waterway, see Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Île St. Louis, and other renowned sights, and pass beneath Pont Neuf, Paris’ most famous bridge.

Free Time: Enjoy your final afternoon in Paris. If you haven’t picked up souvenirs, pay a visit to one of the city’s famous department stores or take a stroll through the unique shops of Les Passages Couverts, the delightful galleries built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tonight, celebrate your time together in this enchanting city at a Farewell Reception in the hotel, followed by a Farewell Dinner.

Accommodations – Hotel Les Jardins du Marais
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

September 16 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals - Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

NOTE: Itinerary schedule may change due to local conditions. Walking is required on many excursions, and surfaces may be uneven or unpaved.


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