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Josephine Baker

The 'Black Pearl' of the Dordogne

This remarkable woman, born in the USA in 1906, came to work in Paris during the 1920’s as a dancer, eventually performing at the Folies-Bergère. Her dance routines were racy and sensational to say the least and helped her to achieve great fame in both Europe and America.

However, Josephine was much more than just a performer. Granted French citizenship in 1937 she worked for the Résistance during WW2 and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. As a woman of colour, she worked tirelessly against racism both in Europe and the USA and went so far as to create a family of homeless children of all nationalities she had collected on her travels around the world.

She adopted these children who were brought to her home at the Château des Milandes and for many years lived in the Château as part of her family.

Unfortunately, Josephine’s lavish lifestyle led to bankruptcy and in 1968 she had to sell Milandes. Typically she revived her career and worked until her death in Paris at the the age of 68.

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Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 24250


1900–: The Modern Era

The Southern Périgord Noir (2 days)

Bastides, medieval castles and a hanging garden in Dordogne

Text © Paul Shawcross

Image by Photo by Jean Seb Barber