I, like so many others, have had to re-evaluate the way I look at the world these past few weeks. I’ve only just begun the process of understanding recent events, but one thing is clear. It is no longer enough to not be a racist. We all need to look deep within ourselves and start being actively anti-racist. I’ll be honest, I’m still not 100% sure what that means. However, I fully intend on educating myself in the coming months to the best of Google’s ability. There are a lot of amazing resource lists out there, and it’s time to start making my way through them. In the meantime, I want to do more in supporting black businesses in Paris, especially in the tourism industry. Below are some of my favourites for you to check out.
Girl Meets Glass
I have to start with Girl Meets Glass. Full disclosure, founder Tanisha Townsend, pictured above, is a dear friend and one of my favourite people in Paris. In fact, she was the subject of Story of a City’s very first interview feature last year. She is also my number one recommendation for wine tours in Paris. Tanisha is incredibly knowledgable, she knows all the best wine bars in the city, and she is an all around awesome person. Any day that I get to hang out with Tanisha is a great day, so be sure to get in touch with Girl Meets Glass the next time you are in town. You can find more information HERE, and if you want to learn more about wine from an expert, subscribe to her podcast HERE. You can also make a donation in support of season two HERE.
Black Paris Tours
These past few weeks have prompted me to not just re-evaluate my conscious and unconscious biases in general, but also in specifically how I give my tours. What stories am I prioritizing? What stories am I leaving out? Why is it that when I mention Alexandre Dumas, I’ve never once mentioned that his father was the son of a slave who rose to become a general in Napoleon’s army? It’s an incredible story, and yet I’ve never mentioned it once on tour. Going forward, I’m going to be more actively aware of the stories that I tell, but when it comes to black history in Paris, I’m going to direct you to the experts. In particular, Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours.
This tour company was founded by CEO Ricki Stevenson in 1998, and offers full and partial day tour itineraries. They also offer tours for elderly and/or mobility challenged visitors, as well as private group tours, and itineraries take you all over Paris. I wish I could tell you more, but unfortunately I have never had the pleasure of joining one of their tours. I fully intend on rectifying this as soon as tourism re-opens in Paris, and I can’t wait to learn more about this history of the city. In the meantime, please click HERE for more information about Black Paris Tours.
Mama Loves Paris
I met the founder of Mama Loves Paris several years ago at a meeting for women entrepreneurs in Paris. Story of a City was just a kernel of an idea at that point, and she and the rest of the women in this group gave me some wonderful ideas and suggestions. All these years later, I still read Mama Loves Paris regularly, especially their weekend ideas for things to do in and around Paris. A lot of their content is tailored for families with kids, but I’m single and childless and I still love this site. Click HERE to read more about Mama Loves Paris.
My Parisian Life
My Parisian Life is another one of my favourite websites about Paris, although as of yet, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting its founder in person. This site has everything, from neighbourhood guides, to restaurant and bar recommendations and advice on the best places to shop. It’s an amazing resource on all things Paris, so definitely check it out HERE.
Anyone who knows anything about me knows that books are my one great vice in life. When I heard that there was an intersectional feminist bookshop opening in Paris, I was ecstatic. So ecstatic, that I immediately supported their Kickstarter campaign. I am now patiently awaiting their grand opening, because as soon as their doors are open, I have a list a mile long for my first order of books. In the meantime, click HERE to find out more about COVEN.
Join me in Supporting Black Businesses in Paris
There are many other ways of supporting black businesses in Paris. This was just a start, but I’ll be posting more on social media as I discover them. In the meantime, the next time you’re in Paris, I hope you take a tour with Girl Meets Glass and Black Paris Tours, learn more about the city through Mama Loves Paris and My Parisian Life, and pick up a book or two from COVEN. More importantly, I hope you join me and commit to being actively anti-racist. It’s the only way we can all move forward together.