As an African in Paris, it can be quite tricky and dicey, especially if you are an Anglophone (English-speaking) African in Paris, France.
In Paris, you won’t really feel out of place since there are also many black folks as yourself all around.
The challenge however (especially for non-French speaking Africans) would be the language barrier – and this one factor is so huge that it can determine whether or not you will enjoy your stay in the city… especially if you are not just in town as a tourist, but as an actual resident. Thus, it is advisable to have knowledge of some basic French (at least), before you venture into town, especially if you are coming in alone with no friends or family to help give you some soft-landing.
Neighbourhoods With Sizeable African Population
The neighbourhoods where you will find relatively significant African population are Chateau Rouge, Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis Basilique, Bobigny, Argenteuil, Sarcelles and some few other areas. Do however note th majority of the Africans in Paris are from French speaking African nations like Senegal, Mali, the Congo’s, Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Togo, Benin etc.
As an English-speaking African, places where nationals from English speaking African countries like Ghana and Nigeria can be mostly seen are Sarcelles, Argenteuil and Bobingy.
Food is an important factor as to how enjoyable one’s stay in a place is, thus it is important to know where to get the right foods and at the right prices.
Almost all neighbourhoods in Paris has a major mall, you would either see an Auchan, Leclerc or Carrefour somewhere in your area. All these malls stock some relatable food items from which you can make a good meal, but to get authentic African ingredients, or must I say, ingredients that are close to home (even if not exactly), then you might want to venture the African markets or shops.
The major markets where African foods can be found Chateau Rouge and Saint-Denis. But Chateau Rouge should be your first go-to for food items.
There you are likely to find food ingredients of all sorts that a suitable to your country’s dish irrespective of which part of the continent you come from.
In some neighbourhoods, you will also find small African shops where you can quickly dash in to buy an item or two on days when you do not intend to do bulk shopping or are in need of an item or two (thus there would be no need to travel all the way to Chateau Rouge).
If you are lucky, you will find a shop in your area that stocks some African food. Most of the time, you will see words like ‘Africain,’ ‘Asiatique,’ or ‘Exotique’ written on them.
And if you are looking for an online shopping option for African foods in Paris, then I must say that it is likely going to be a difficult task.
One! considering that most of the things would be in French, even when you have to follow-up by phone call. And two, there is practically no online service for African foods as at the time of writing this article… especially for English-speaking African foods.
The video below will help to give more insights into how to navigate your culinary needs as an African in Paris;
Random African loves writing about the African continent. He is consistently in touch with happenings in every part of the continent and derives joy from providing fresh and crisp information for his audience.