“A Taste of Paris” shows our readers a side of the City of Lights beyond the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, offering insights into the French capital’s neighborhoods that are informative and inspiring.
Production: LWS Production / E-T
Tips for LGBTQ travellers in Paris
The LGBTQ Scene: Few cities can boast as open of a community as “Gay Paree” where the lines between the gay and straight parts of the city are more than blurred. The Marais in the 3rd Arrondissement, particularly the streets of Rues St-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, des Archives, and Vieille-du-Temple, have been the bustling epicenter of gay and lesbian nightlife for the past few decades. There are additional bars and cafes around the Boulevard de Sébastopol acting as designated meeting spots for anyone seeking like-minded folks, but generally all clubs and bars welcome people of any sexual orientation.
Condoms = préservatifs en français. They can be picked up from any pharmacy or from dispensers outside the majority of pharmacies outside of opening hours.
Feel free to be affectionate: Hug, kiss and hold hands in the City of Love without anyone batting an eyelid.
LGBTQ-friendly Mosque: Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque was opened in 2012 by a gay Islamic scholar who wanted to provide a safe space to worship to those that needed it. It signaled the city’s remarkable acceptance of those of varying sexual and religious orientations.
LGBTQ Parisian Experiences
Les Mots à la Bouche: Paris’ oldest and best stocked gay bookstore threw open its doors back in 1980 and remains the best place to purchase dedicated LGBTQ literature, magazines and films.
Cimetière du Père Lachaise: Pay your respects to the one of the most beloved queer writers with a lipstick kiss to Oscar Wilde’s angel tomb.
Hungry in the Marais: Head to Broken Arm for fresh juices and salads. TATA Burger satisfies for a bite out of a penis-shaped double cheeseburger and a side of queer kitsch and friendly gay waiters. Try traditional French tartare with pommes frites at L’Estaminet, which is run by two lesbians or go all out with the wine menu at Le Gai Moulin, open since 1981.
Cave party: Head to Le Cud if you’re looking for a dirty, late-night dance party. This typical Parisian cave bar caters to those looking to get up close and personal with the young, male Parisian set. Drinks are pricey and the dancefloor is small but the locals are friendly and the music is pumping into the wee hours of the morning.
Go-Go boys: If it’s eye candy you’re after for the evening, Banana Cafe delivers with their bevvy of go-go boys and drag queen antics. There’s a heavy rotation of themed nights and a crowd that loves to glitter and have fun.
Chill & Chat: For a more lowkey affair, grab a drink at Duplex, the Marais’ oldest gay bar. The close quarters here concoct the perfect formula for making friends with locals and tourists from afar.
Where the girls at? La Champmeslé has been courting the lesbian bar scene since its opening in the 70’s. Expect a warm and friendly atmosphere with parties going well into the morning.
For the women: Les Jacasses is small and completely unpretentious with a clientele scaling towards the older spectrum. Across the street you’ll find the younger, clubby 3W Kafé with its neon lights and pop music blaring among the sweaty bodies.
Paris Pride: This annual event is typically held the first weekend in July. Beginning at the Montparnasse-Bienvenue Metro station on the Left Bank, the procession of revelers dances across the Seine, finishing up at Place de la République where the dance party begins, spilling over and around to the streets of the Marais.
Hôtel Les Bains
The 130 year history of Les Bains begins with its opening in 1885. Equal parts decadent and sexy, the bathhouse cum nightclub saw Bohemian demi-gods such as Marcel Proust and Andy Warhol saunter through its doors. It closed briefly and was re-opened and re-interpreted as a property spreading its talents across the hotelier, restauranteur, and club owner spheres. Located in the Marais, the hybrid property whose name still raises some eyebrows offers 39 spacious guest rooms to a clientele in search of something different.
Rooms are lavishly decorated in mahogy while the marble bathrooms stock luxurious Le Labo care products. A curated selection of international books is available in each room for you to peruse as you drape yourself over the generous beds or soak in the view from your balcony. Trot across bold statement carpets down to the bar where your essence is distilled by the resident mixologist. The downstairs club complete with pool is open Thursday to Saturday for those wanting to boogie down and rub elbows with the fashion set. This sexy hotel is certainly one to be heavily featured on your Instagram account.
The Emile is a stylish and budget friendly pick in the heart of the Marais. Suited up in simple and clean black and white, your eye is drawn to the tantalizing geometrically patterned chinoiserie, carpets and drapes. Top floor rooms have jaw dropping views across the rooftops of Paris. The hotel has updated air conditioning for those hot, sweaty Parisian nights and a lift sweeps you and your suitcases upstairs. A simple, wholesome classic Paris breakfast of strong coffee, orange juice and croissants with butter and jams is served perched upon stools in the lobby– grab a window seat to get the best view of life in Paris bustling by.
Tip: If you’d like to keep our LGBT recommendations handy during your Paris visit, click the ⭐ icon next to the Maps title to save it to your own Google Maps!
*Cover image by Olivier Ortelpa CCBY