Touring Little Africa in Paris & New York (Part I)

By Daniella D.

In the past few weeks, I was in Paris then off to New York to visit a dear friend of mine. As Paris is like home away from home, I rarely do all the fun touring that most tourist do. It might shock you but I have never being inside the louvre or most tourist attraction in Paris. But if you know me, you’d know that I am not so keen to explore what crowds of people seems to stand in line just to get a glimpse of. I’d rather spend an afternoon in the heart of the African center in Paris, Chateau Rouge, where I can find all the ingredients I need for a delicious Cameroonian dish. Walking around with roasted corn in one hand and going through some African print with the other is what I would call an ideal time.

So this time around, I was once more up for little Africa in Paris.

I stay a little farther from Chateau Rouge, so I took the RER A then the M4 and voila, my destination. As it was a Saturday, it was crowded. I made my way to different African print shops – the objective was to buy a few African wears as souvenirs for my family and friends back in the states.

This store is actually located in 68 Rue Doudeauville, 75018 Paris – in case you want to stop by.

Because I was looking for already sewn garments, the choices of design were limited. It would have been better if I actually designed the dress I wanted, bought the African print, and gave it to a seamstress. So, word of advice; do not hesitate to do so if you’re in Paris the next time – it’s considerably cheaper as compared to other places I’ve been – only catch is you need to give them time to bring your design to life.

After spending some days in Paris, I was on my way to New York to visit a friend. It was my first time in New York, so I can’t deny that I first arrived with a preconceived notion of New York which was totally proven wrong. I fell in love with the city, especially with the accessibility of African prints and styles in Harlem.

Again, I am not your typical girl or tourist who would have rushed for the Empire state building, time square or wall street, etc. I preferred spending time with vendors on the street, bargaining the prices of various good which I sometimes find were worth more than those at a department store. A simple dashiki was $10, same price as in Paris, and depending on the designs, you could find dresses and skirts anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on the style, type of print, vendor, or even the amount of material used. 

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