Today, Sunday another leisure day. A day when our participants strike out on their own and do whatever their heart desires. After all, in a matter of 3 days they’ve got the lay of the land and even before they arrived they received our emails on where to go along with Do’s and Dont’s.
This being one of our days off Robin wanted to visit one of her most favorite cafes, Treize au Jardin which is situated on the Left Bank (rive gauche) which happens to be in the Latin Quarter. It was called that centuries ago when the educated had to speak Latin. There you will find the Sorbonne Universite’ and other schools of higher learning. Treize is across from the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens where Robin use to do her homework when she studied at the Sorbonne. The few times I’ve rented apartments in Paris, it’s the bohemian Latin Quarter that does it for me.
Curtis, Yvette & Gwen made their way back to Little Africa and parts of the 18th arrondissement while some headed to the famous Paris Flea Market or even a 3 hr train ride to Amsterdam. Mena, Kathy & Linda did some retail therapy by hitting LV and other high end stores and then an appointment to go all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night and enjoy the spectacular view while sipping champagne.
I might also add, Lady Eiffel is also on the Rive Gauche, Y’all!
It’s official: There will be another week added in May 2024. As I sit here in Paris on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning, several thoughts run through my mind. One being; anyone who has always had a desire to see Paris from a black perspective really needs to see it with Kat & Robin; the true black Paris trailblazers; Kat in the early 80’s and Robin & Kat together since the late 90’s. Who better to show you the BEST OF BLACK PARIS than the original 2 Black Paris Divas and Kat the pioneer before there was even a Black Paris as it’s called today, back in the days of Haynes Soul Food Restaurant, Sharon Morgan and Bojangles and last but definitely not least Percy Taylor & his Percy’s Place. Time has brought about a change but we are still serving up Paris on the black side with true style & finesse.
May 9-16 – SOLD OUT
May 2-9 AVAILABLE – Maximum 24 Participants
If interested, inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Week 1 has ended and a beautiful time was had by all and they have all made it safely to their respective homes. We are now into week 2 and another Kattrax reunion: Michael & Cynthia Stacks of Miami, Dennis, Clinton, Sonya, Joan, Martha, Mena from the Bay, Dianne & Donna of North Carolina and several other newcomers we plan to see on upcoming tours.
Cousins Lisa & Weldon Clemons took a lovely pre anniversary photo with Lady Eiffel in the backdrop before saying au revoir Paris. Then cousin Karla from southern Cal arrived for week 2. May 2024 sold out in 3 days last week so it looks like Robin and I will add a second week. May 2-9. We’ll see how it goes.
Yesterday’s Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tour kicked off with a visit to Little Africa Village Boutique. Our private bus dropped us off at Chateau Rouge and we made our way with Miguel & Dedie through the colorful market with the freshest of fresh vegetables, fish, all types of meats, and past the fabric and tailor shops. Upon arrival at the boutique, Jacqulin gave an introduction on the boutique’s beginnings and then several purchased the loveliest prints, clothing and fabulously designed jewelry. Miguel is an amazing historian and storyteller and always has everyone’s undivided attention. He is just a wealth of historical facts and knowledge. Lunch never disappoints in Neuilly and the tour would not have been complete without a visit to the Black Madonna.
Week #1 we started with Karin Robinson-Smith and she hadn’t stopped. Next up was Mercedes Orozco. She’s just getting started and then last night the 25th anniversary for Ron & DeLisa Crosby we celebrated black love at Villa Masaai complete with sparklers, champagne and the Tony’s “It’s Your Annuversary”. Yes right there in our African restaurant. Later, The group was picked up in 4 stretch limos to take in a few night lights in this beautiful city. Yes, we had the street on lock for our pick up. As usual, I get a private Mbz ride to the hotel. Time for the Kat to get her rest. There was a young lady from the UK at our hotel who just flew over for the day and night to load up on her Dior. She said oh wow, so many beautiful Americans. She said they say Black don’t crack. My response, Yes baby, that’s so true!
Yesterday was Sunday in Paris. A leisure day for the group. A day to do whatcha want, whatcha like. Some enjoyed a cruise on the Seine River, which happens to be a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Others did the hop on hop off boat and after met up in the bar at the hotel celebrating Karin’s March birthday and did she have the champagne flowing. They kept bartender, Merci Dieu very busy. Yes, that’s what his mother named him. Translated: Thank you God. The ladies were having such a great time as I passed by; they corralled me in, said they wanted to pay homage to me. So we took a photo and the champagne continued to flow as I went about my business.
Others couldn’t resist the opportunity to stop by the Basquiat Exhibit at the Louis Vuitton Foundation which will be running until August 28th. Then there is the Faith Ringgold “Black is beautiful” exhibit at the Picasso Museum which will run until July 2.
There is always, something fun and exciting to do in this city.
In this business for a group, among other things, there are two important things that are needed: Good reliable transportation and a good hotel. The first group rolled in to Charles de Gaulle airport and our drivers were all in place throughout the morning. Robin flew in on Air France with 13 of the group, at least half were in business class and now totally spoiled and saying ; “No more Economy”. As they were dropped off ; I was posted up in my usual spot, the lobby to meet & greet everyone.
To dinner the first night Instead of 1 bus we had 4 black MBZ V Class vehicles roll up with 3 GQ suited brother chauffeurs and a pretty middle eastern Muslim sister, Soriyah, dressed head to toe in black. Kattrax showed the group what we’re working with.
That night dinner was at the iconic Babylone Bis, a West Indian restaurant where we’ve been frequenting since 1994. How did I get on their wall of fame with the likes of celebrities like Marvin Gaye, Snoop, Sean Paul? I don’t know but I appreciate them and the royal treatment they extend to our groups.
The next morning on the schedule was a full day with Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours by private bus. We were delighted her precious daughter, Dedie flew in to be with us and join master Guide, Miguel as he shared a wealth of knowledge on the tour, which included a stroll through Little Africa.
Saturday was every bit a highlight for all. Our capable driver, Jokunda from Mali, drove us safely to Nicolas Feuillatte’ Champagne house in Epernay where all were taken on a tour which covered 1 km throughout the ultra modern facility where they learned the entire story from the planting of vineyards to the finished bottled product. Afterwards, the group had a grand ole champagne tasting time. We topped off the day with a 4 course lunch where we were again treated like royalty and the chef and his sous-chefs came out to bid us farewell. All in all, it was a very good day and we relaxed on our 2 hr bus ride back to Paris.
Nothing stays the same. The young become the old, mysteries do unfold. There are not many things in life you can be sure of EXCEPT rain comes from the clouds, and sun lights up the sky and humming birds do fly.
My go to cafe, Le Marceau next door is now under new ownership and is to be avoided at all cost. No more fois gras, no more magret or confit of duck. Was I disappointed. Later found out the reason why. Who can eff up fish & chips? Who has ramen on the menu? They do! 🤦🏽♀️
Anyway determined to get a better meal this evening I walked 7 mins to Chez André. Without a reservation at 7p I could wait an hour for a table inside or be seated outside, no lines though. I settled for outside and watched across the street at the line of at least 50 and growing waiting to get inside Le Relais de Entrecôte. Before my frog legs Sautéed in garlic & parsley arrived; suddenly out of nowhere a downpour appeared. Thank God I was under an awning but I worried about my walk back to the hotel, without an umbrella and risking ruining my new UGGs. However, I kid you not, not one person budged from those in the uncovered line across the street.😂😂
Comfortably back in my room I mapped out getting my Foie Gras and Magret de Canard tomorrow. It will be 10 mins in an Uber at IL Etait Une Oie Dans Le Sud Ouest ( from the US movie, “Once Upon a Time in the West”.
By the way, another change is that the Bank & ATM across the street is no longer there but there is an ATM on our same street 5 mins away.
Et il est si bonne! My 7 hr Business Class flight on Air France was tres enjoyable and smooth. I could not believe how much the airport has changed since last year. My driver for today was Salim, one of Ilotransvip’s best. There he was with his iPad with my name boldly displayed. Into to the Benz and off we were to the hotel making a pit stop at the Carrefour for a couple cases of water.
Our host hotel for the past 15 years is like home to Robin and myself. Nicolas at Reception greeted me with a very warm welcome and said a short wait and my room would be ready. I slept most of the flight so I’m not sleepy at all. It’s 11am and in an hour I can’t wait to break my fast and hit the Le Marceau next door. I’m not sure if it will be Foie gras or Confit de Canard. What the heck, maybe both.
Paris is normal, no protesting. The next will be May Day, May 1, a European holiday also known as their Labor Day. At 730am when I landed it was a bit chilly. Now the skies are blue and the sun is peeking through the clouds.
The next 2 weeks will be delightfully enchanting for both groups and those that have snagged space for May 2024 will also be in for an incredibly amazing experience.
I’m not sure if I will blog very much this trip as you all have been reading about this Stroll Through Black Paris for many years now. But who knows? Maybe I will for the new blog followers.
We said April 2023 would be the last Stroll Through Black Paris. We leave next week for 2 separate tours but we will be back by popular demand May 9-16, 2024. It was just announced a couple of days ago and bingo bango alakazam 9 of 12 double rooms are already SOLD. The last 3 will not last long. So if you were asleep at the wheel and missed the announcement; you’ve still got a chance to sign up. No one to travel with? We may be able to assist but only the coolest, flexible, easy-going need apply.