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A word to first visitors

Kevin
November 24th, 2019 · 2 min read

Welcome, dear reader, and thank you for coming here. Throughout these pages, you will discover another facet of Paris and France, which few tour guides address today. You will learn the contribution of several generations of Africans and afro-descendants in the construction of the city of light, what were the consequences of slave and colonial history on the African presence in the territory, and what are the traces who still testify today.

As a result of history, the African presence is now unavoidable in Paris. This translates into a very dynamic cultural and associative life, a commercial and entrepreneurial dynamism, and obviously the presence of innumerable restaurants where you can taste many culinary specialties of continental Africa and the diaspora (Do you smell this smell of ndole?).

Did you know that the name of Paris would come, according to some sources, from the name of the Egyptian goddess Isis?

As you know, Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. However, travelers who come here for the first time are often surprised to see such diversity. In addition to giving you practical information dedicated to making your stay pleasant, our concern will be to let you know the historical relations between France and Africa and how they have influenced the evolution of Paris.

Let’s start at the beginning. Did you know that the name of Paris would come, according to some sources, from the name of the Egyptian goddess Isis? Paris = Per Isis (which means “Temple of Isis”, because the first inhabitants of the city worshiped this goddess.)

Did you know that Paris had been the site of several colonial exhibitions, and even hosted human zoos attracting millions of visitors? Do you even know what a human zoo was?

Did you know that Paris had known a black mayor in 1879? This is Severiano de Heredia, a son of freed Cuban slaves, who became mayor of the French capital at 42, then minister of public works.

Did you know that Gaston Monnerville, a Guyanese Afro-descendant, was president of the Senate for 10 years, from 1958 to 1968?

Among them, African-Americans had an undeniable influence on the city of lights

The history of Paris is full of these characters who shaped the political, social and cultural life of the city. From the best known, like the poets of Négritude, to the most unknown, like the two politicians mentioned above, not to mention the millions of anonymous people who lived here, this site takes you step by step to meet those who have helped make Paris (and France) what it is today. Among them, African-Americans had an undeniable influence on the city of lights: black soldiers, the Harlem Hellfighters, bringing jazz to France, NBA stars, or the hip-hop artists of the first hour, or Today’s mega stars like Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar, French youth has for many years been influenced by this cultural force of the black diaspora of the United States.

And what about these many monuments, streets and museums that have their origins in Africa, either tell the story, or build their collections around the multi-millennial African culture? From the Obelisk of Luxor on the Place de la Concorde, to Severiano de Heredia Street (17th), through the Louvre Museum, where are many objects from ancient Africa, you will discover Paris with a new eye.

Finally, and since you are on vacation - you’re not here just to have a history lesson ! - you will have access to all the cultural agenda, events, and shops that will allow you to do your shopping and enjoy yourself as it should!

Have a good reading, and above all, have a nice stay!

fraternally

Kevin

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