Immerse yourself in the City of Light and see it through the lens of the African American experience. Learn about the lasting influence of the African Americans who made Paris their home through a combination of exclusive discussions, specialized walking tours, and guided historical visits.

Starting at: $4,590 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Travelers in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower  The Harlem Hellfighters  The Louvre's entrance, designed by I.M. Pei  Arc de Triomphe, Paris  Place de Tertre by the Sacre Coeur  Fountain at St. Germain-des-Pres  The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles  Paris at night

Paris: The African American Experience

9 days from $4,590

Immerse yourself in the City of Light and see it through the lens of the African American experience. Learn about the lasting influence of the African Americans who made Paris their home through a combination of exclusive discussions, specialized walking tours, and guided historical visits.

or Call 855-330-1542


Save $250 per person when you book by July 19, 2019!

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 


In the early 20th century, Paris became a center for creative spirits seeking a welcoming artistic milieu. After both World Wars, African Americans turned to Paris to embrace the open French culture, and in the process made a lasting impact on the cultural world through their music, writing, and art. During this cultural stay at the centrally located Hotel Les Jardins du Marais, immerse yourself in the “City of Light” and see it through the lens of the African American experience.

Highlights Include

  • African American Experience: Discover neighborhoods related to W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright. During special walking tours, trace the impact of the Harlem Renaissance and jazz on Paris, from the early 1920s through post World War II. You’ll gain insight into entertainer and activist Josephine Baker; famous nightclub owners such as singer Ada “Bricktop” Smith and World War I flying ace and drummer Eugene Bullard; and later musicians Miles Davis and Bud Powell. See how their influence continues during a live jazz concert.
  • Special Insider’s View: Meet with award-winning novelist and journalist Jake Lamar, an American expatriate, who discusses his experience in modern Paris.
  • Other Highlights: Enjoy special tours of cultural Paris, such as a thematic tour of the Louvre, a culinary walking tour, and an excursion to Versailles. You’ll also savor a luncheon and city views from the Eiffel Tower and a Seine River cruise through the city.


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 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 the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 — Paris

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning at the hotel. Afterward, begin discovering the spirit of Black Paris on an exclusively arranged excursion that showcases well-known sites and lesser-known quarters of the city. On 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.

Continue with a stroll through an area near the Louvre, former home of Henry Ossawa Tanner and musicians Miles Davis and Bud Powell. Stop for lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel and enjoy the remarkable views of Paris from the premier étage. After lunch, visit the Quai Branly Museum which features the indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Join fellow travelers at the hotel this evening for a Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner, an informal discussion about the day’s discoveries. (B,L)

Day 4 — Paris

Gather in the hotel for an exclusive screening of the film, Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light, then enjoy 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 popular French culture that has endured for decades. Linger longer in Montmartre, and spend the afternoon discovering on your own. This evening, embark on an excursion that showcases post World War II Paris and the jazz of that period.

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 an expert for a guided tour in the Louvre. View collections of African Art and images of African people. You’ll also have time to explore more of the vast array of art and sculpture in the museum independently. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)

Day 6 — Paris and Versailles

Travel outside of Paris 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. (B)

Day 7 — Paris

This morning, gather for a discussion with American expatriate Jake Lamar. Mr. Lamar is a prize-winning author who has written several novels, numerous essays, reviews, short stories, and a play.

This afternoon, tour the Left Bank and discover more about the expatriate music pioneers and their remarkable achievements while living and working around the Sorbonne and St. Germaine-des-Pres. Late this afternoon, join your fellow participants in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for conversation and camaraderie. (B,L)

Day 8 — Paris

Today enjoy a cruise on the Seine through the heart of Paris. While gliding along you’ll see legendary Parisian points of interest and pass under elegant bridges like the Pont Neuf.

This evening gather for a festive farewell reception followed by dinner in a local restaurant. (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)