Paris is always a wonderful city to visit any time of the year, with a huge amount of things to do and see.
Yes, you have to visit the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Champs-Élysées. But for gay tourists, there is so much more to experience.
The main gay area is in Le Marais, a district situated roughly between the Louvre and Bastille. However, there are gay venues scattered all over Paris. Thankfully, the metro closes late (around 1am) and opens early (around 5am).
Paris is almost synonymous for shopping. You can spend many hours in the big department stores like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette which are conveniently next to each other at Boulevard Haussmann 40 and 64 respectively (Mon–Sat 09:30-20:00, 21:00 Thursdays).
Fewer visitors know of the second Galeries Lafayette store in Montparnasse, at 22 Rue du Départ. Go there to avoid the crowds and for better bargains.
The main gay shopping street is Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie in Le Marais. Shops are open daily 12:00-20:00 (Sun 14:00-20:00). Factory’s at number 3 (www.factorys-paris.fr) and Boy’z Bazaar (www.boyzbazaar.com) at number 5 are the two top male boutiques. Opposite, at number 16, the IEM sexshop (www.iem.fr) has been serving gay customers for over thirty years.
After shopping, what is there to do in Paris but eat? First, have a coffee at the Cafe Beaubourg at 100 Rue Saint-Martin, opposite the Pompidou centre to watch the crowd go by. Afterwards, head to Open Café in the heart of gay Le Marais, where cute waiters serve decent food.
Anfora at 30 Rue Beaubourg offers some excellent Italian food. Check also the newly opened Who’s at 14 Rue St Merri with its great brunch buffet or Chez Paul at 13 Rue de Charonne for a typical French bistro meal.
After midnight, go to a club. The famous Queen at Champs-Élysées is the place to take your straight friends, but most gay guys prefer Scream and Le CUD for a dance. If cruising is what you desire, Le Dépôt has a dance ground floor and a cruising basement, while L’Impact is nude-only every night (with a free Sunday buffet at 9pm).
Saunas in Paris are located away from Le Marais. The popular Key West is near Gare du Nord so attracts some Brits who pop in before they board the Eurostar. You’ll find more locals in the IDM where nobody bothers with a towel and everyone walks around nude.
More central is TiL’T, which started in 1974 as the first gay bathhouse in France and still is one of the most convenient saunas to get to.
Finally, hey, you are in Paris! Don’t miss a night out in The Moulin Rouge in Montmartre, the birthplace of can-can since 1889. And if you want to watch a drag show, nothing compares with Michou at 80 Rue des Martyrs, a few blocks away.
04-09-2014 by Nigel Phillips | More: Gay Paris
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