Since the days of the celebrated chanteuse Josephine Baker and, later, the author James Baldwin, France has welcomed African-American travelers. That welcome continues today. A good book on the subject is Tyler Stovall's Paris Noir. Another worthwhile resource is the website www.cafedelasoul.com.
Regrettably, anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Europe, especially in France, which has registered a significant increase in incidents against Jews. French Jews (not visitors from abroad) have suffered assaults and attacks against synagogues, cemeteries, schools, and other Jewish property. Officials say they believe that attacks in France are linked to the worsening of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some sources -- none official -- recommend that travelers conceal Star of David jewelry and other such items to ensure personal safety while traveling in France.
Officially, the government of France welcomes Jewish visitors and promises a vigorous defense of their safety and concerns. The French Government Tourist Office website (www.franceguide.com) has a FranceGuide for the Jewish Traveler in the "Publications" section with more information.
Although there is a significant level of discrimination against West and North African immigrants, there has been almost no harassment of African-American tourists to Paris or France itself in recent decades. However, S.O.S. Racisme, 51 av. de Flandre, 19e (www.sos-racisme.org; tel. 01-40-35-36-55), offers legal advice to victims of prejudice and will even intervene to help with the police.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.