Tour Disconnect

While in Paris, I went on many bus tours. I purchased a few two day passes so I could cover multiple areas and neighborhoods. By the end of my trip, I was partially able to recite the scripts or at least the music tracks that they included. Regardless, I was very shocked when I went on tour to discover what was told and what wasn’t told. For instance, while going by the Madeline, the bus tour did not mention Josephine Baker’s funeral. I thought this was an important part because it was “Josephine Baker’s funeral on April 15, 1975, formed a spectacular finale to her unique career. The French government gave her a state funeral at the city’s impressive Madeline church, the first American woman it had ever honored in this way.” (Stovall 286). Another interesting fact was that the bus tours didn’t really add anything without the French stamp. This was to be expected, but I thought that the tours would somehow mention the importance of the African Americans in Paris.

The only areas that I found information about African Americans in Paris, were on African American tours. These tours could be a bit pricey, but they were very educational. I took two official tours. The first tour was with about seven other Americans. The second was a personal tour, it was just myself and the tour guide. In between those tours, I had a separate meeting with a tour guide that worked for a company that specializes in Black tours and we discussed African American life in Paris. Also, I bought a few books that had tour routes inside. These tours and books provided wonderful insight, however they I wish there was some nominal connection between the commercial and the culturally specific.

DSCN1583

Image from Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours

DSCN1576

The Tour Group from Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours.