I am not sure why this is showing up on my website today. Perhaps because in a different year, I would be practicing my poor efforts at saying most things in French. There would be a suitcase, portable duffle, and a backpack, waiting for the yearly trek. The array of cute flat shoes (no tennis shoes) to choose from on the guest bedroom floor. A small jar of moisturizer, small toothpaste, and contact lenses were the standard toiletries waiting to be packed. Everything else I needed, I would purchase in Paris.
Over the weekend, while purging papers, I happened upon some postcards…from Paris of course. A tear dropped and I refused to wipe i t away. One by one tears fell as I flipped through my short stack of memories. The Eiffel Tower in blue, the steps by Sacre Coeur in the snow, a perfect table setting with a view, fountains at the Tuileries, and Paris at night.
These were not tears of sadness, but quite the opposite. I cherish the memories of the Paris excursions. The friends I have made, my fantasy conversations with Claude (you know Monet), and wandering just for the adventure of it. I recollect my glee as I have flashbacks of the gardens I planned to see, as well as those I happened upon. My journey, my version of Paris and the anticipation of my August #refreshresetrestore, has been delayed this year. Not cancelled, simply postponed.
One thing I have promised myself during this time of unintentional pausing, I will always be good to myself. I will not deny myself of anything that will create a positive memory. There will be times when I have dessert for dinner and dinner for breakfast. Staying hydrated will be my mantra…from water to wine. As my big brother Jimmy often reminds me, we are all adults now, just be YOU. So I reminisce about the things that bring me joy.
As we continue on this never ending road of unintentional pausing and encounter the intersection of what’s next, look back. Find the pictures, wear the trinkets, check your passport, for this too shall pass. BY 2022…we might be able to travel again.
In the meantime…here is a memory that wants to be re-visited today…so it just keeps showing up.
During the Christmas Holiday of 2016, I wanted to take advantage of the different tours offered in Paris. It was the perfect opportunity to partake in the Black Paris Tours.
Arranging the Black Paris Tour was quite easy. There are two options – a half day tour and a full day tour. If you want the adventure of a daylong immersion in the Black Paris perspective choose the full day, which includes dinner in Little Africa. I had no idea of what to expect…however I was onboard for the journey.
The day started out at a wonderful restaurant with up close and personal views of the Arc de Triomphe. Breathtaking does not describe how awesome this was and we were just getting started. Warm croissants, coffee, tea, and conversations with the other tour members was the icebreaker. Our guide informed us on how the tour would take us from foot to bus to Metro. We were all ears and ready to bundle up and get started with our day.
Miguel Overton Guerra, Black Paris Tours, shared little known facts about the African American’s presence in the military history of France. The story of the Harlem Hell Fighters was amazing!We also discovered how this wonderful obelisk traveled across the waters as a gift to France.It was challenging seizing the opportunity of seeing this up close. We had to stick very close together as we navigated the cars and buses. Getting through traffic requires one to be very alert, attentive and aware!
Our guide Miguel escorted us to the Church which hosted the funeral of Josephine Baker. Madeleine Church was undergoing exterior renovations at the time of our visit. Knowing that I stood on the steps where many paid their respects to this woman of color who persisted, despite the odds, was amazing! While exterior work was being performed, the interior views were not the best. What I did capture was simply amazing.
One thing I must mention, the Madeleine Church has always welcomed a diverse congregation and still does today. Merci to the ministry of this beautiful Church.
Miguel ushered the group onto a bus and we traveled to visit with the monuments honoring Alexandre Dumas. All along the way our guide pointed out other points of interest to explore on our own. Arriving in the neighborhood where the Dumas family called home was quite a treat. Knowing that this Haitian man has left memorable literature of note to readers all around the globe is just amazing.
The statue was amazing.
Then …we looked closer at the monument of this well-known author of the times…as well as today…Upon closer inspection one can see one of the Three Musketeers. Imagining that a man of Color wrote one of the well-known classics is simply amazing.
One of the last stops before dining was at Parc Monceau.
We left Parc Monceau after hearing many stories of how this was a well visited place for African-Americans in the Arts. We headed further into an area kniwn as Little Africa. Admiring the beauty of this Parc in the midst of winter, I can see how it’s beauty captured the hearts of its visitors. In Little Africa, we dined in community with others from Senegal and I must say the food was divine. The defining touch was the hibiscus tea…..delightful! Out of the respect for the restaurateur, we did not take photo’s. If you want a fantastic meal in an authentic restaurant, go to Little Africa or better yet, take the full day tour with Black Paris Tours.
Considering traveling to Paris, partake in the Black Paris Tours. I guarantee that you will find out some interesting things you might not know about. Henry O. Tanner knew about the awakening that Paris provides and has provided throughout history to people of Color.
Thank you Ricki Stevenson for providing such great information on African-American milestones in Parisian history.
Memories as I am missing prepping for my August #reset…
Teri, Cottage In The Court
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