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  • Writer's pictureNicole Lawrence

What Does African Americans History Have to Do With Paris

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Believe it or not, there are places in Paris that play a significant role in African American history. In case you'd ever like to visit Paris, we highly suggest taking some time to learn more about the impact African American’s have had on the history of Paris and their beautiful culture…

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg was once a frequented spot for Franco-Italian Queen Marie de Medicis. It is also where many famous writers took recurring strolls to think. But how does this make it substantial to African American history? Well, the gardens were a popular spot for many notable African American artists and writers, including Richard Wright and Gertrude Stein. Across the street at Café Tournon, writers and modernist painters would gather for lunch, such as Wright, Stein, Himes, and Delaney, making for a great cultural stop for those interested in art and writing.


Although Saint-Germain-des-Prés doesn't honor James Baldwin or Richard Wright as it should, the neighborhood was a familiar hangout for the pair. Upon meeting at Les Deux Magots one day, Baldwin and Wright had a falling out that would bring an end to their friendship forever, leaving Baldwin to dine alone while working on his essays at Cafe Flores.

Champs-Elysées & The Arc de Triomphe

In 1954, the first African-American military pilot, Eugene Bullard, was called upon by the French government to ignite the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who stands tall at The Arc de Triomphe. Bullard eventually joined the Resistance against the Nazis and participated as a member of the Occupied French Government.

Josephine Baker, a civil rights activist and dancer, put on some of her first shows at the Champs-Elysées. Baker also did her part as a member of the Resistance against the Nazis. In 1939, she spent her time collecting intelligence from German officials. Once the war ended,

Baker was given the French Legion of Honor.

These are two beautiful spots for those interested in a historical culture based around wartime.

Montmartre and Pigalle

Montmartre and Pigalle aren't at all what they once were. In the 1920s, these neighborhoods were alive with whimsical jazz music. The scene included bars, clubs, and speakeasies, all blaring with the sounds of jazz. It was a popular place for young African Americans to escape the confines of Harlem. The Nazis eventually destroyed the African American jazz scene in these neighborhoods, making it a fascinating spot to visit and learn more for music lovers.

Louvre Museum

Many people may not know, but the stunning glass pyramid was designed with the help of African American, David Harmon. Most only know of Chinese architect I.M. Pei to have created this beautiful structure. David Harmon graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design and went on to lend a hand with the creation of the Louvre Museum in the late 20th century. This is typically a top spot for tourists to visit for the beauty of the pyramid, but underneath the surface, there is so much to learn in regards to its African American history.

Want to learn more about the significant roles of African Americans in Paris? Contact us today to schedule your FREE client consultation with Travel With Great Company. Let's start planning your trip and filling up your trip itinerary to visit all of these beautiful historical places in person!

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