Thursday, October 21, 2010

Entrée to Black Paris™--Black History after WWII Tour and Bonus Books.

The dynamic duo, Monique Wells and her husband Tom Reeves decided to rechristen their Paris business Discover Paris! with the name “Entrée to Black Paris™”, and invited a few bloggers on a Thursday afternoon to experience Black Paris after World War II” – one of Discover Paris!’ most popular private, guided walking tours.
Additionally, Monique recently launched a blog: and Facebook page: called “Entrée to Black Paris™.” she says: “My goal in doing so is to increase awareness of Paris’ black heritage among all people – particularly those who already know and love Paris, and are seeking new avenues of exploration to enrich their cultural appreciation of the city.” I am one of those people.

So there we were, a few Paris bloggers (and one Rock Star) on a Thursday afternoon, following Monique as she led us through the streets of Paris, walking the same path and visiting the same Parisian cafes as writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Chester Himes did years before.

Entrée to Black Paris™--Black History after WWII Walking Tour

One of many interesting stops along the way...

Monique shared the facts, stories of the past with photos, and contemporary aspects of black life in Paris. Without imposing her own opinions to slant our views of controversial facts, she leaves us to contemplate Black Paris, post WW2. She watches our expressions as she smiles. She knows so much about Paris, it’s people, history, struggles, successes, it’s impossible to hear it all in 2 hours.

'If I told you everything, I’d have to shoot you.' is an expression used in my Military career.
If she told me everything she knew, I wonder all that I would know?
Her tour makes me more curious to know more, learn more, read more, ask questions, find facts...

Entrée to Black Paris™--Monique Shares Facts.

The tour concluded at Café Tournon where Monique shared more insights of African-Americans who frequented the café years ago. As Kim Bingham (aka my Rock Star friend “Mudgirl”) and I leave for coffee at the Tournon, Monique casually suggests, “Ask to see the photo of Duke Ellington and Beauford Delaney at the Café when you get there.”

Monique, me and "Mudgirl".

Sure enough when we arrived and asked to see the photo, the waiter gladly pulled it from the side of a curio cabinet, stored in a place we would have surely missed if it weren't for Monique's suggestion. The French waiter seemed as fascinated by the photo as we were.
Gazing at the old faded black and white photo, I yearned to know even more about Black Paris.

Books by Monique Wells and Tom Reeves :

"Food for the Soul."

Before the tour, Monique signed a copy of her cookbook that's more than just a cookbook: “Food for the Soul: A Texas Expatriate Nurtures Her Culinary Roots in Paris”-Monique Y. Wells. She has purposefully published recipes for expats (and even Parisians) longing the comforts of Soul Food in Paris. She even explains where some of the ingredients can be found in local Paris markets. I’ve already made my French grocery list to prepare Smothered Chicken (Monique’s simple recipe of only 6 ingredients!), Jambalaya, and Chili….each recipe is perfect for these cool Paris Autumn days!

Additionally, After the tour, Tom introduced me to his book: “Paris Insights-An Anthology”. – Tom Reeves. I have to confess I love the idea of a book named Paris Insights. Sounds interesting and peaks my curiosity, but “An Anthology”?! my first thought was “An Anthology"- definition: a collection of literary works (to me ='s boring)…Zzzz.

I was wrong. Once I got home and reviewed the book, I was amazed; NOT BORED!! Little did I know, that Tom placed in my hands a collection of fascinating, delicious, bite sized insightful (1 to 2 page) nuggets of facts and photos of all things interesting and fascinating about Paris. He writes about Americans in Paris,(some I didn’t know), fascinating facts about Paris Churches and Cathedrals, Wine Pairings…and (my favorite section of the anthology), Tasty Treats, which includes Hot Chocolate in Paris(and so much more).
The book holds answers to intriguing questions that would take me hours to research individually or online. To hold the book in your hands, visit:

Paris Insights-The book:

Entrée to Black Paris™ on Thursday afternoon was a wonderful Entrée to Black Paris.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Florence! What a nice write up of the day! I liked reading your summarization of what happened. I've not written a piece yet, but will soon.

    It was nice to meet you on the tour. I hope that our paths will cross again soon.

    Take care!