During this special Cultural Stay, immerse yourself in the “City of Light” and see it through the lens of the African American experience. Among other highlights you’ll enjoy insightful thematic tours that focus on esteemed African American expats, authors, activists, and musicians; a meeting with an award-winning novelist; and a jazz concert.

Starting at: $4,590 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Travelers in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower  The Harlem Hellfighters  Entrance to the Louvre, Paris. Credit: Jan Wlodarczyk, Alamy  Arc de Triomphe, Paris  Fountain at St. Germain-des-Pres  The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles  Paris at night  Place de Tertre by the Sacre Coeur  Musicians in the City of Light

Paris: The African American Experience

9 days from $4,590

During this special Cultural Stay, immerse yourself in the “City of Light” and see it through the lens of the African American experience. Among other highlights you’ll enjoy insightful thematic tours that focus on esteemed African American expats, authors, activists, and musicians; a meeting with an award-winning novelist; and a jazz concert.

or Call 855-330-1542


Activity Level 2:  Moderate 

Expectations: Week-long Cultural Stay featuring one city and hotel stay. Moderate pace with some afternoons and evenings at leisure. Extensive walking tours of neighborhoods, museums, and outdoor sites. Some included excursions will require the use of public transportation within the city and to Versailles. The hotel is centrally located for easy access to museums, sites, shops, and restaurants, which is ideal for time at leisure. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (especially walking tours). 


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

Depart on your transatlantic flight to Paris, France.

Arrive at Charles de Gaulle International Airport and transfer to Paris and the upscale, centrally located Hotel Les Jardins du Marais. Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll receive a Welcome Package with maps and general information about Paris. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding independent activities.

This afternoon you can join tour staff for a short orientation walking tour of the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. This evening gather for a welcome reception followed by an introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Dinner will follow at a popular local restaurant. (R,D)

Day 3 — Paris

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning at the hotel. Afterward, set out on an fascinating excursion that provides a rich overview of black history in Paris. Your local guide will talk about the places expatriates like W.E.B Dubois, Bricktop and Sidney Bechet frequented. Travel along fashionable avenues like the Champs-Elysees and up the narrow hilly streets of Lower Montmartre, while glimpsing the Luxembourg Gardens and the Latin Quarter, abuzz with students. This experience reveals black heritage and its connection to the Louvre, the Madeleine Church and the Paris Opera House. After lunch at a local restaurant, embark on a cruise on the River Seine whose banks have been designated a  World Heritage site. Points of interest include Notre Dame Cathedral, the Île St. Louis, and the Pont Neuf, Paris’ most famous bridge. Early this evening, join your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Travelers Corner for an informal conversation about the day’s discoveries. (B,L)

Day 4 — Paris

Gather in the hotel this morning for an exclusive screening of the film, Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light, then participate in a question and answer period with the filmmakers. Lunch will be served at a local bistro.

Later, follow in the footsteps of those who were a part of the vibrant black community of the Lower Montmartre during the 1920s. Learn about the dawn of the Jazz Age in Paris and black musicians like the Harlem Hellfighters. See the sites of famous nightclubs run by the singer Ada “Bricktop” Smith; Eugene Bullard, World War I flying ace and drummer; and the dancer and entertainer Josephine Baker. It was during this time that African American culture blended with popular French culture that has endured for decades. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Montmartre Museum, located near Sacre Coeur, and house in a quaint 17th-century residence. See art collections that depict the history of Montmartre during the 19th and 20th centuries including pieces by Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Dufy. 

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 African American artists. Then enjoy a festive dinner and a live jazz concert. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Paris

Today enjoy the many delights of French gastronomy. Ernest Hemingway famously wrote that Paris was a “moveable feast” and on this culinary walking tour, you’ll sample a basketful of delightful French food specialties. In the afternoon join a local expert for a gudied tour of the Quai Branly Museum that has become France's principal museum showcasing the cultural arts of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas. (B)

Day 6 — Paris and Versailles

Travel outside of Paris this morning to the Palace of Versailles, the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI and a renowned World Heritage site. See the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 formally ending World War I. An expert local guide will escort you through the palace on this fascinating tour. Later, enjoy a leisurely lunch and time to explore the palace further at your own pace. (B)

Day 7 — Paris

This morning, gather for a presentation by American expatriate Jake Lamar. Mr. Lamar is an award-winning writer and a transplant from Bronx, NY. During his presentation, he’ll talk about his experiences in Paris, where he’s 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. Afterward, an excursion will take you to the Left Bank, where the African diaspora flourished. It’s here, in the late 1940s, that many African American war veterans studied at the world-famous Sorbonne. Also, learn more about the “bebop” style of jazz and the musicians who flocked to Paris. See where Miles Davis and Bud Powell lived and performed for enthusiastic French audiences. Afterward, enjoy lunch at a local bistro. Late this afternoon, join your fellow participants in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for conversation and camaraderie. (B,L)

Day 8 — Paris

Today, let your interests be your guide as you follow your own path and explore Paris on your own. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport for your return flight to the U.S (B)

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