Travel Africa by way of Paris. New travel guide Little Africa invites you to delve deep into African culture in the heart of Paris. Like Little Havana in Miami and Chinatown in New York, now find Little Africa in Paris. After encountering members of the African diaspora on a trip to Mexico, Little Africa founder Jacqueline Ngo Mpii realized that African culture is present even in the most unexpected of places. Returning to Paris equipped only with the desire to understand her African heritage and the memories of her childhood in Cameroon, Jacqueline began to seek out expositions and bits of African culture that existed in Paris.
Given her passion for art, it seemed only natural that Jacqueline structure her guide around the work of African artists in Paris. She believes, “Artists are bringers of messages; they share their vision of the city surrounding them.”
Serge Kponton was the first artist Jacqueline published on her website, and the first she asked to participate in the guide. Kponton creates his works using no less than five different techniques – painting, photography, body-painting, graphic design, and performance. His photographs of body paint are particularly exquisite and certainly unique.
Artist Alif King creates “biro art.” This lesser known discipline is hard to come by and not often featured in galleries. Artists like Alif produce small, intensely detailed artworks drawn solely using ballpoint pens.
Though the guide is rich with the best of Africa in Paris – art, culture, gastronomy, shopping – it’s only a glimpse of this prominent culture. Little Africa is currently working on a follow-up guide to Paris with even more African addresses. In the future, Jacqueline looks forward to expanding Little Africa into a series that searches for Africa throughout Europe, looking to Lisbon or to London.
Jaqueline’s Travel Tips:
Prepare for your travel and learn about your destination but not so much that you don’t take part in spontaneous adventure. Know where you’re going; don’t miss the sights you want to see. Take photos – they’re wonderful souvenirs and perfect to share.
Don’t forget travel can happen as soon as you leave your house or neighborhood. Little Africa is a guide not just for foreigners but for Parisians who have yet explored all their city has to offer.
Food: Just outside of central Paris is Ô Petit Club Africain, a chic restaurant where chef Raoul Coly prepares authentic African dishes and delicacies. Little Africa suggests tasting black sesame ice cream (too good to resist!) while relaxing to the sounds of African music like Senegalese salsa!
Art and Culture: Understand the evolution of the diverse Paris we know and love today at the Musée de l’Histoire de l’Immigration. From its architecturally magnificent exterior to the stories and histories of French colonialism inside, this museum is a must. But if museums aren’t your thing, take an African language course. Paris is a treasure trove rich in African languages. With more languages than we can count, take advantage of the diaspora in Paris with some lessons.
Shopping: Looking for an edible souvenir? Stop by Cape and Cape, the first and only African tea house and boutique in Paris, located in the Marais.
La Goutte D’Or: Traverse the Boulevard de Barbes and explore the Goutte d’Or. Marvel at the vibrant outdoor market; wander the African quarter’s winding streets; browse the colorful African fabrics in the neighborhoods many boutiques.
Ô Petit Club Africain, 14 Boulevard Richard Wallace, 92800 Puteaux
Musée de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, 293 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012
Cape and Cape, 12 Rue de Fourcy, 75004
Little Africa is available in both French and English. For more details on the guide and to explore the site, please visit the site: http://littleafrica.fr/.