In the company of a cultural historian from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, explore the experiences and lasting influence of African Americans who made Paris their home during a combination of specialized walking tours and guided historical visits. 


This program is available to members of NMAAHC exclusively as a benefit of membership for a limited period of time.

Starting at: $4,390 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Travelers in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower  Fountain at St. Germain-des-Pres  Paris at night  Sunset on the Seine River

Paris City of Light

The African American Experience

9 days from $4,390

In the company of a cultural historian from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, explore the experiences and lasting influence of African Americans who made Paris their home during a combination of specialized walking tours and guided historical visits. 


This program is available to members of NMAAHC exclusively as a benefit of membership for a limited period of time.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

In the 20th century, Paris became an alluring retreat for creative spirits seeking a welcoming artistic milieu. The result? An enriched community with African American musicians, writers, and artists who embraced French culture and impacted their sense of community and deep-rooted traditions on Parisian life. During this seven-night stay at Paris’ well-located Hotel L’Echiquier Opera, immerse yourself in the City of Light and see it through the lens of the African American experience. You will enjoy a combination of guided historical visits, neighborhood walking tours, culinary offerings, a jazz evening, a meeting with local filmmakers and more.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. and Arrive Paris

Smithsonian Journeys travelers depart the U.S. for Paris via overnight transatlantic air service. After a morning arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, transfer to the Hotel l’Echiquier Opéra. Each traveler will receive a welcome kit containing a map and information on Paris and its environs. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be on hand to help with suggestions for independent activities. There is time to relax and settle in, then join your Travel Director for an orientation walk around the hotel neighborhood. This evening, gather for a welcome reception followed by welcome remarks by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, John W. Franklin, Cultural Historian and Senior Manager, Office of External Affairs, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Then enjoy a festive welcome dinner at a popular Parisian restaurant. (R,D)

Day 3 — Paris

Each morning, enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel. Gather for a presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, John W. Franklin. Enjoy a tour along the Champs Elysées see sights related to the lives of Josephine Baker; W.E.B. Dubois; Langston Hughes, writer, poet and social activist; the entertainer Bricktop, and authors James Baldwin and Richard Wright. Stroll through an area near the Louvre, former home of Henry Ossawa Tanner and musicians Miles Davis and Bud Powell. Stop for lunch at restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel and take in the remarkable views of Paris. After lunch, enjoy free time to explore Paris with the remainder of your day at leisure. (B,L)

Day 4 — Paris

Discover the vibrant black community of the Lower Montmartre during the 1920s. Learn about the dawn of the Jazz Age in Paris. See the sites of famous nightclubs run by the singer Ada “Bricktop” Smith; Eugene Bullard, WWI flying ace and drummer; and the dancer and entertainer Josephine Baker. It was during this time that African-American culture formed an amalgam with French popular culture that has made a lasting impact on both sides of the Atlantic. This evening, embark on a tour that showcases post-WWII Paris and the jazz of that era. Visit St. Germaine-des-Pres and the Latin Quarter where an expert local guide will point out the iconic clubs and caveaus where young French jazz musicians were nurtured by black American artists then enjoy dinner followed by a live jazz concert. (B,D)

Day 5 — Paris

Start the day with a lecture by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Discover the many flavors of Paris today on an excursion that introduces you to French gastronomy. Paris is known as a “moveable feast” and on this culinary walking tour, you’ll sample from a basket of delightful French delicacies. In the afternoon, explore the Louvre Museum with an expert guide to view pieces of African art and images of African peoples in the museum's collections. Discuss the artistic and cultural significance of these works of art. After your tour, you may wish to continue visiting the rest of the Louvre's collections on your own. (B)

Day 6 — Paris and Versailles

Travel to Versailles, a World Heritage site and home to France’s most opulent royal palace. Marvel at the Hall of Mirrors, where the historic Treaty of Versailles was signed in June of 1919 formally ending WWI. Versailles was the center of France’s Royal Court from 1682 to 1789. There is time for lunch and to explore on your own. (B)

Day 7 — Paris

Today a local expert joins the program for a presentation on “The History of Paris' African American Community”. Later, tour the Left Bank and learn more about the expatriate music pioneers and their remarkable achievements while living and working around the Sorbonne and St. Germaine-des-Pres. Sit down to lunch with fellow travelers at a local bistro. Late this afternoon, gather with fellow travelers and tour staff in the Smithsonian Traveler's Corner for a chance to share and reflect on travel experiences. (B,L)

Day 8 — Paris

Enjoy a morning cruise the Seine River and observe its banks, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site. On this remarkable river, you’ll see Notre Dame Cathedral, the Île St. Louis, the Louvre Museum. Let your interests guide you and explore Paris on your own as the balance of the day is at leisure. This evening, join fellow travelers and tour staff for a farewell reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.  (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)