The history of Paris as a haven for African-Americans

By Tylisa C. Johnson

I was standing in front of my apartment bookshelf, eyes darting between the shelves, trying to decide which two novels to pack in my carry-on. My eyes landed on James Baldwin’s Nobody Knows My Name. I had to smile.

I was heading to Paris on the eve of Valentine’s Day, in the early days of Black History Month. Alongside a handful of outfits, a conversational repertoire of French, and fading European history lessons, I’d packed a deep curiosity about my African-American ancestry in Paris.

It was Paris where, for decades, countless African-American intellectuals and creatives crossed the Atlantic, hopeful and drawn by the possibility of freedom, an escape from American “Blackness.” For many, it is still sought for its history and culture.
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Paris Chic: Photos To Make You Want To Visit France Next Year

In this time of being grounded at home in the United States due to the novel Coronavirus, American lovers of Paris can still enjoy the City of Light. Here’s how.

In this wing-clipped year of being grounded at home in the United States due to the novel Coronavirus, American lovers of Paris can still gaze eager eyes and open their hearts to the City of Light via Paris Chic, an elegantly hefty book published this month by stylish Assouline. With more than 200 photographs by Oliver Pilcher and text by Alexandra Senes, this heady tome abundantly delivers images and words artfully woven with sophistication and seduction: unfolding broad cityscapes and intimate corners, well-known hot spots and mysterious hideaways, lively action and lovely stillness, intriguing perspectives and personalities.

With Paris Chic, you can rejoice in the role of armchair traveler, taking flight while staying in place for now. Appreciate the thick feel-good paper as your fingertips turn 280 pages. Go slowly, as though you are strolling next to the River Seine, noticing every detail. Throughout Paris Chic, understand the appeal of the city’s tantalizing temptations as well as its poetic comfort, its centuries-old splendor and its of-the-moment energy. Revel in enchanting voyeurism, looking at behind-the-scenes gatherings in homes, offices and restaurants.

Imagine yourself (oui, fantasize!) slipping inside the images of Paris Chic as well: Peering over the edge of a hotel balcony; striding Avenue des Champs-Élysées; meandering public gardens; exploring galleries and workshops and bookstores; nosing around boutiques (a perfumerie!); indulging in treats (macarons!); relishing bistro meals that leisurely linger; meeting fab fresh amis. This is not a guidebook, although it certainly points in inviting directions. Like the best of travel-themed coffee table books, Paris Chic offers a sumptuous portal that woos and nurtures wanderlust.

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Paris museum refuses entry to woman in low-cut dress

Musée d’Orsay, home to some of world’s most famous nudes, apologises for barring visitor

One of Paris’s biggest museums, whose galleries feature some of the world’s most famous nudes, has been accused of discrimination and sexism after refusing entry to a woman in a low-cut dress.

In a case of life not imitating art, a zealous official told a literature student whose name was given only as Jeanne that “rules are rules” and ordered her to cover her cleavage if she wanted to be allowed into the Musée d’Orsay, a popular tourist attraction and bastion of the beaux arts.

“Arriving at the museum entrance, I didn’t even have time to get out my ticket when the sight of my breasts and low-cut dress shocked the agent in charge of checking reservations,” Jeanne wrote in an open letter on Twitter, accompanied by a picture of her wearing the dress. “She left, chanting ‘ah, no, that won’t be possible, Continue reading “Paris museum refuses entry to woman in low-cut dress”

‘Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris’ ABC documentary revisits bravery, first-hand accounts of 2019 fire

The infamous Notre-Dame cathedral fire of 2019 shocked the world. Now, in a two-hour documentary special, ABC will revisit first-hand accounts of the disaster in “Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris.”

Together with harrowing footage from within the inferno, “Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” features interviews with firefighters, clergy, local officials, and those who were inside the cathedral on April 15, 2019, to tell the story of the fire watched around the world.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, and is also the keeper of some of Christianity’s most priceless and revered relics.

The fire was broadcast live throughout the world. People looked on helplessly as 500 Parisian firefighters were losing the battle against a raging fire that was destroying it all.

The world cried and prayed, powerless as the flames threatened to wipe out nearly 900 years of history.

Ultimately, the president of France and the general in charge of the Paris Fire Brigade made the significant decision of sending a commando of elite firefighters to an extremely perilous, even suicidal mission to save the cathedral.

“Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” highlights the events of that fateful night, and highlights the brave and extraordinary efforts to save the very soul of Paris and Europe’s most precious monument.

Don’t miss “Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris” on Wednesday, September 16 at 9 p.m. on ABC.Source: ‘Notre-Dame: Our Lady of Paris’ ABC documentary revisits bravery, first-hand accounts of 2019 fire – ABC11 Raleigh-Durham