If Paris is the capital of romance for straights and lesbians, can gays be far behind? If you are a gay single seeking love or a gay couple deep in love, you should head straight to Paris in France for your romantic getaway. Start your day with touristy activities such as visiting Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame or the Louvre and in the evening, pick up a drink at one of the Le Marais pub – just the right warm for the long night ahead. For everything you need to know about Paris holidays for gay singles and pairs, continue reading.
Once you are in Paris you just won’t feel like going back home. You may be a gay single or a gay pair, but Paris has that charm of luring you into its arms and not letting you go ever. Every inch of Paris is fun.
A little about the French
French are not known to start conversations with strangers, easily. The French are also little more withdrawn than others – for example, they won’t show the enthusiasm an American will show on meeting you, or won’t get as personal as an Indian will. These French characteristics make meeting local gay partners in Paris bit of a challenge. But then, what is life without a nice little challenge. However, since Paris attracts a lot of gay couples and gay singles you will be able to meet the other tourists for lots of high-end fun.
Yet, Paris loves gays
Having said that, the Parisians love gays so much that they even have a major gay district called Marais. What started small in the 1980s, has now blossomed into heaven for the LGBT community, with 50% of all LGBT businesses (pubs, restaurants, bars, meeting joints etc) being in Marais. Marais has adorable, narrow streets which are perfect for romantic walks.
When NOT to plan Paris holidays for gay singles and pairs
However, if you are a single gay or a pair planning a gay vacation in Paris, don’t plan it for August. The folks of Paris take their year’s longest vacations in August, bringing the whole tourist season to a halt. In fact, if you do land up you will find even the most popular of the gay pubs, bars, restaurants empty.
The best time for gays to visit Paris has to be during the LGBT Pride March of Paris – a yearly spectacle started 40 years ago to highlight the demands and bring about visibility for LGBTQ community. More on Gay Pride
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Important places in Paris for gays to visit
1. Gay memorial in Paris
The entrance of Hotel de Ville is an important place for the gay movement. In the year 1750, a gay couple was burnt and left to die in front of the hotel. They were the last gay couple to be punished for homosexuality in France. Being a gay, it is your duty (and right, shall we say) to pay your respects to this couple in love. While you are on your Paris holiday check out the intersection of Rue Montorgueil and Rue Bachaumont – the place where a memorial has been built for this gay couple.
2. Penis-shaped baked goods
You may be in Paris as a gay single or as a gay pair, either way it makes sense to try out a bakery called “Legay Choc”. Run by two brothers, one straight and another gay, this bakery is popular amongst the gays in Paris because it sells penis shaped baked goods. Their lunchtime sandwiches are also popular, so land up early to avoid the queue.
To see all their products and take a tour of their bakery, watch this short video:
3. Public Urinals – earliest gay meeting points
In the 1830s, many public urinals were installed in and around Paris. Eventually, this became the meeting place for the gays in Paris. With time the police came to know and started arresting the gay men from public urinals citing ‘indecent exposure’ as the reason. As of today, only one such urinal exists at Boulevard Arago in the 13th arrondissement, Paris. As a practicing gay, you need to check out this historic place where your initial brothers-in-arms found love.
4. Oldest gay bar in Marais
Marais is the gay heaven in Paris. It has been so since the late 70s. In 1978 the first gay bar was inaugurated in Marais but had to be shut down. As of today, the oldest existing bar is Duplex, at Rue Michel le Comte, which opened in 1980. Duplex doesn’t have music at full blast and hence is also known for being a nice conversation spot.
Best gay accommodation in Paris
Paris is so welcoming of gays – both singles and couples – that there are no exclusive gay accommodations. You can walk into any hotel you want and request a room. Most of the good hotels, good B&Bs and guesthouses in Paris are more gay-friendly that gay exclusive.
However, since the location is the key to any holiday our recommendation is that you find an accommodation in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement of Paris. This area is called Le Marais. Numerous restaurants – both affordable and fine dining – line the streets. This district also has some of the best gay bars, the biggest gay saunas etc.
Hotels in this area are affordable but old fashioned. They may be a little cramped and the nominally priced ones may not have elevators – so do a good research on gay accommodation in Paris before booking.
If you are a group of gays traveling to Paris together, we suggest booking a holiday apartment for the duration.
Gay nightlife in Paris
Paris gay nightlife is colorful – just the way you love it. Trust us when we say you will have fun in Paris if you travel there as a gay single or as a gay couple. Majority of the gay nightlife in Paris is concentrated in the area called Le Marais, the 3rd and 4th arrondissement. This area is bang in the middle of Le Louvre museum and Place de la Bastille.
The gay nightlife in Paris starts early – some bars open in the afternoon itself but most start serving their first drinks around 5 pm. The legal and compulsory time to close the bars is 2 am. If you want to party beyond the closure time, ask the locals around for bars with the special license to be open all through the night.
For a city the size of Paris, the number of gay clubs is low. Do check out Queen Dance club, at the famous Champs Elysees boulevard. It is huge, and is open every night from midnight to 6 am.
The best way to indulge in some clubbing is by keeping an eye out for flyers distributed at the bars in Le Marais. These flyers carry all information of the best parties in town. Watch out for these names – Mix, Gibus, Scene Bastille and Club 18.
Five best gay bars in Paris
1. Les Souffleurs
This is a nice little gay bar in the center of the gay district of Marais. Though it is in bang in the middle it is difficult to spot, so open a map if required. The music is great and the décor is also subtle, not to mention great food.
2. Le Spyce Bar
The Le Spyce Bar is young at heart, and maybe that is why they decided not have an air conditioning installed. So be ready to sweat it out. The crowd gets excited and it is a young, happy place so don’t miss it.
3. Banana Café
Banana café is a popular joint which gets the young locals and the tourists who didn’t quite like being in the center of Marais. Situated in the neighborhood called Les Halles, the Banana café is a must visit.
This gay bar is a bit claustrophobic, so if you think you won’t be able to take it…stay away. If you can survive the closed space, this can be a good choice for spending the whole night partying with gay friends.
5. Le CUD Bar
If you start the party late and end late, this gay bar is just right for you. When the other bars are closing down, the Le CUD bar opens up. If you want to see Le CUD in top form, visit it after 2 am. List of the top ten gay bars in Paris.
Tip: If you are a single gay holidaying in Paris, and wanting to connect with a local gay…here is a tip for you. The French gay can be difficult to flirt with. Showing that you are interested in a person too directly will be construed as being too easy. So, take your time. Remember, your style of flirting will be the best style anywhere…so don’t change that. Our best wishes for a romantic holiday in Paris.
Gay saunas and cruising in Paris
Some of us are into ‘heavy’ clubbing (you get the hint, don’t you?). Paris is just the right city for gays interested in saunas and cruising. Do plan your visit to a gay sauna for the busiest time is usually Sunday afternoon until evening. During the weekdays, the busy hours are from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Some of the most popular Sauna bars in Paris are – Sun City, Gym Louvre Paris, Key West Sauna, Kong Sauna, Tilt Sauna, IDM Sauna, Les Bains d’Odessa etc. Exhaustive list of best saunas in Paris.
As for Cruise bars, some of the most popular ones are Full Metal, Keller’s, Bunker, Boxxman etc. Exhaustive list of best cruise bars in Paris.
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Shopping frequented by gays in Paris
Who doesn’t love shopping? Paris doesn’t compare to other shopping destinations like London and Dubai and to top it, it is expensive as well. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying out these amazing shopping spots frequented by gay singles and couples holidaying in Paris.
1. If you are interested in funky little boutiques, look no further than The Marais (esp the 3rd arrondissement)
2. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen is the Europe’s biggest flea market and is filled with antiques which pique your interest. If you are staying in The Marais, you must take a metro to Porte de Clignancourt district.