I shared earlier this week the sheer awesomeness that was the MyBrownBaby summer vacation to Paris with the girlpies, Mari and Lila, and our son, Mazi. Simply put, we had a blast. And when I wasn’t leaving my Nikon D-50 laying around creperies and subway station seats across Paris (thank goodness Mazi was more mindful of my equipment than I!), I was snapping away. Here, I present some shots of our most memorable moments in Paris. Super good times!

An outdoor club settled between the foot of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.
A beautiful Merry Go ‘Round near the River Seine
Mari, Lila, and Mazi chillin’ on a nighttime ride down the River Seine

We took an amazing Black History Tour of Paris with the fabulous Ricki Stevenson of Black Paris Tours. Ms. Ricki took us all around the city, nourishing our minds with stories about African Americans who found solace in Paris and pointing out all the landmarks of significance to our history there. If you ever find yourself in Paris, this tour is a MUST!

Our tour guide, Ricki Stevenson, breaking it down so it’ll forever be broke
Parc Monceau, the elegant park where African Americans, barred from parks in the U.S., strolled, including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Mary McLeod Bethune, Katherine Dunham and many more.
A monument to France’s most prolific writer, Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers and 600 other books he wrote in his lifetime. In 2001, the French Government gave Dumas its highest honor, reburying his body at the Pantheon with the greats in arts and letters and science, including Voltaire, Madame Curie and Louie Braille. And yes, Dumas was black (African, Haitian and Creole).
This sculpture, erected sometime within the last year, is a tribute to Davy Thomas de la Pailletierre, father of Dumas and a fiercest generals in Napoleon’s army. His name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe. This monument also acknowledges France’s involvement in the enslavement of Africans.
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This obelisk was donated to France in 1831 by the Viceroy of Egypt; it’s the oldest monument in Paris 3,300 years old. It’s also home to the guillotine, where 1,300 people lost their heads, including Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette
The Theatre des Champs Elysees, where the 369th Harlem Hellfighters band was honored with a post-war command performance, and where Josephine Baker made her Paris debut in the musical “La Revue Negre.”
Place de la Madeleine, the church where Josephine Baker’s funeral was held, four days after she made a triumphant return to the French stage at age 68. She received a state funeral, attended by an estimated 100,000 people.
That’s me and the girls up top, and Nick below, hanging in Little Africa.
For the past 125 years, church attendees have continuously prayed here at the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur,  making good on a promise when the church was erected to stay in continuous prayer to atone for France’s involvement in war. The church is in the highest point of Paris, in Montmartre.

Of course, the food in Paris is divine, as are the desserts, especially here at La Duree, an ornate pastry shop and tea room that’s been serving up its world-famous coconut-less macaroons since 1862. We had champagne and cookies for dessert back in this stunningly elegant champagne room. (Don’t worry: Mari and Lila had milkshakes!)

lass=”separator” style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”>Of course, we couldn’t do Paris without taking a day trip to Versailles, home to Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Opulent doesn’t even begin to describe this place. The fountain-filled gardens, the golden gates and staircases, the marble, the art, the sheer size of the place? Yeah, let’s just say that if I was starving and I knew my king and queen spent all the tax money on this madness, I would have chopped off the heiffa’s head, too. #justsayin

The golden entry gate to Versailles
Mari getting her giggle on in a maze of hedges in the gardens of Versailles
One of the many houses gracing Marie Antoinette’s chalet
The gardens are even more amazing when the fountains are running

The Centre Pompidou is an ultra-hip modern museum with lots of amazing and super weird art. Of course, when there’s a mirror around, the Chiles girls are going to pose. Take note of Lila, who can’t ever be still, even when the camera is clicking!
The Stravinsky Fountain, in the square outside the Centre Pompidou
The Arch de Triomphe is just as amazing inside as it is on the outside and good God, you have to climb more than 230 steps to get to the top. Nobody warned me. I barely made it up. Clearly, I need more people. And exercise.

 

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And what would a visit to Paris be without a stop at the world-famous Louvre? Mona Lisa smiled at us, and Mari and Lila took their beauty star turn in front of the Venus de Milo.

We really enjoyed our lunch at Cafe Marley, a delightful restaurant just off the Louvre’s square. And there goes Lila, twirling again. And for the record? Panna Cotta topped with fresh raspberries is officially my favorite dessert, like, ever. I’m on a mission to find a good recipe for this.
Notre Dame. ‘Nuff said.

We spent our last night at Publicis Drugstore, a delightful restaurant in a “mall” type building with shops, book stores, and magazine stands. The food was delicious and the desserts, especially the generously proportioned ice cream sundaes and the pistachio creme brulee, were nuts.
Nick getting a good laugh at something Lila was doing, no doubt. She’s a riot. All day, er’day.
My Lila, the goofbucket.
Mari, handling her strawberry shortcake ice cream sundae.  She barely put a dent in it!
The Arch de Triomphe, just steps away from the restaurant, at night. Our last view of Paris…

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19 Comments

  1. Amazing!

  2. Beautiful pictures! I have been to Paris but a long long time ago and didn't appreciate it like I would have now! I hope to go back!

  3. Looks like an amazing trip! Beautiful pics … and such a beautiful family!

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

  4. Wow those are some really beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Breathtaking! WOW! Such a dream come true type of trip! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stunning pictures. I could only imagine what fun you all had. Paris is so beautiful. Hopefully I'll get to go one day.

  7. Fantastic pictures! What company did you book your diverse tourguide through?

  8. Beautiful pictures and a beautiful family. France is a place my bf and I have been thinking of moving. We have heard it is more diverse. But the humanitarian in me believes we need to help our own country diversify more… Obama is a start but there is still much to do. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us!

  9. Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva

    I could pour over these pictures all day. They were absolutely beautiful. It is one of my life goals to take a trip to Paris. I'm glad that your family was able to go and that I could live vicariously through your post.

    Take care,
    Shynea

  10. This was such a pleasure! I felt like you brought back a special slice of Paris just for me with those pictures. I'm so happy the girls got to experience that at such a young age, and I know Mazi's life is about to change in so many ways as he's a college man now (Yaay!), so getting away before school was surely ideal! Gotta love a beautiful family vacay!!

  11. What fun!

  12. Wow, very beautiful. I never thought about going to Paris, it just was never on my list of places to visit but your pictures made me a little more interested. The African American Tour sounds interesting.

  13. Jewelry Rockstar

    Awesome! Truly awesome, I now have a family vacay to aspire to.

  14. Fashion Du Jour

    I love that you take so much time and attention to making sure your children are aware of all that it means to have African heritage. I applaud you.

    FASHION du jour
    http://www.fashiondujourdaily.blogspot.com

  15. writersblock_ct

    Ty for sharing the beautiful pics of your family & your trip! It gave me chills & made me smile! I'm 40 now & want to make it to Paris for my 50th birthday. I never new we had such a rich history there! As much of a reader as I am I'm not sure when I 1st read 3 musketeers as a child that I knew the author was brown like me! These photos have really motivated me to make it to Paris & take that tour!! Thanks again!

  16. I have wanted to go to France for as long as I can remember. I will…What a blessed adventure you had. Thanks for sharing. :)

  17. Wow! Thanks for this post and the beautiful photos….I loved all the art, architecture and of course, dessert!

  18. i must know… WHAT CAMERA IS THIS YOU ARE USING!!
    the pics are amazing! such pro quality!!!
    paris is sooo on my agenda for september 2011, i need your travel agent and itinerary!!!

    seriously.

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