Category Archives: Gay Paris
A gay tourist in Paris
Last time I checked, Paris is the most visited city by tourists every year in the world. I cannot tell you a lot of new things about the romance of the river, the imperial buildings, the ancient streets, the traditional monuments, the countless museums or the vibe that has inspired artists for centuries. What I can tell you is how a gay tourist can make the most out of it. Of course any tourist with a little self respect must visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Opera, Champs Élysées, the Seine and the Arc of Triumph (which might take at least two very organized and tiring days). And there will always be plenty of other things to do: Le Sacré-Cœur, L’Orangerie, Le Musee d’Orsay, walking tours, bus tours, night tours and Versailles (which is a bit away from the city, so don’t forget to check times and dates in advance, and block almost a whole day). Let’s start with some basics:
First of all, I beg you: regarding food, stay away from all international fast food chains (you may also apply this at home). This is one of the most exquisite cuisines in the world, with centuries of tradition. I’m not saying that you should invest thousands of euros every night in an extravagant confit du canard and pâté with champagne. I’m just suggesting to stay away from McDo and Starbucks (which are always packed with tourists anyway). A street crepe or a quick visit to one of the thousands of patisseries in Paris can fill you with delicious, cheap and local food. If you visit a café, make sure to sit outside if the weather is nice, and facing the street (some waiters even ask you not to move the chairs). Order “un café”, and enjoy the espresso just like locals do.
NEVER call your waiter with “garçon”, it’s rude and they hate it.
Regarding French wine, there are as well thousands of liquor stores in which you can get a nice bottle at any price range imaginable. Finally, you may constantly notice that Parisians carry with them little mint colored carton bags, which belong to the famous macaron house of Ladurée. You do not want to miss getting a mixed box, so, I STRONGLY recommend to get a reservation at the Champs Élysées store (in order to avoid waiting for hours), or visit any other store in the city.
As for Parisians, I believe you might get a very nice surprise.
Locals have a global fame of being rude and arrogant (especially with tourists), but the times I’ve beet to Paris I’ve only encountered nice, or at least polite people. Never have I been insulted or discriminated. Even when locals see me struggling with a primitive French, they switch to English if they can in order to help tourists in need. Let them kiss you twice when they meet you in order to avoid awkward situations (they’ll know when it’s appropriate). And, obviously, Parisians are a great mix of European, Middle Eastern and African races, which has resulted in very attractive mix for every taste. So, now you have every reason to talk to someone at a bar.
Le Marais, the gay district,
has offered us everything par excellence since the 80s. This historic and trendy (even aristocratic) district is the place to be if you want to feel among our people. It’s central enough to get there comfortably, but far enough from the chaos of the main attractions. Between the third and the fourth districts, you can get there with the yellow, brown or pink line. As one of one of the gay capitals of the continent, it is commercial, leisurely and edgy. It is allegedly the only official gay neighborhood in France, so, it has obviously attracted gay people from the whole country as permanent residents. If you’re hungry, Le Gai Moulin is a cozy and unpretentious restaurant, and Legay Choc is a delicious and kinky patisserie. For a good night sleep (yeah right…), the boutique hotel Caron de Beaumarchais is a beautiful 18th century mansion that will make you feel like Marie Antoinette. And for serious partying, Raidd, Velvet and Le Dépôt (one of the largest cruising bar in Europe) are guaranteed fun, and maybe even a few phone numbers.
Let us finish with a guilty pleasure: fashion. Needless to say this is one of the major fashion capitals in the world, so you may want to be careful not to commit a crime. If you go during winter, try to wear the most elegant and simple black coat you can get. Walking down Les Champs is like a glamorous runway of dark shadows. Since fashion changes, I enjoy going a bit neutral and stylish (casual chic, not haute couture). Trench coats, blazers and long scarves are nice and safe options. Pay attention to the trends on the streets and the subway. Study the looks you like, see if they are common, and then try to imitate it or, even better, go shopping for that look. Unless you are a world famous hip-hop star, don’t do tacky clichés by wrapping yourself in Chanel or Vuitton (locals enjoy the later in particular), especially if it’s fake. And for parfums and colognes, avoid the top 10 sellers or the iconic ones like Chanel No. 5 or Abercrombie if you don’t want to smell like half the city (or the world). Try to identify the smells you already like (musk, wood, oils, flowers and fruits), or certain perfumes for that matter, in order to get something different and authentic, and get help from a shop assistant (that’s what they’re for). At Galleries Lafayette or Bon Marché you’ll be able to find the scent of your dreams.
A few last minute advices for the City of Lights: you might want to get the Paris Pass (parispass.com) in order to save money and spare lines, as well as a travel card for the metro if you are staying for a few days. If you are interested on a performance at the Moulin Rouge or the Opera, book in advance. And please do not bring back any Eiffel Tower keychains for your family and friends, I have at least four, none of which I bought. Bring back cheese, wine, macarons, Maxim’s chocolates or nice designer accessories.
GAY PRIDE IS COMING! Over the next 6 months, gay prides will be happening coast to coast!
PHOENIX PRIDE April 5-6, 2014
MIAMI PRIDE April 11-13
TOKYO PRIDE April 27rh
SAO PAULO PRIDE May 4th, 2014 – the BIGGEST in the WORLD
NEW JERSEY PRIDE June 1st, 2014
LOS ANGELES PRIDE June 6th-8th
MILWAUKEE WI Pride June 6th-8th
CAPITAL PRIDE DC June 6th-8th
DETROIT PRIDE June 7th-8th
HONOLULU PRIDE June 7th
PHILADELPHIA PRIDE June 8th
BOSTON PRIDE June 8th-16th
KEY WEST PRIDE June 11th-15th 2014
NASHVILLE PRIDE June 12th-14th
SITGES SPAIN PRIDE June 12th-16th
PITTSBURGH PRIDE June 14th-15th
BERLIN PRIDE June 14th-15th
OSLO PRIDE June 20th-29th
HOUSTON GAY PRIDE June 20th-29th
TORONTO PRIDE June 20th-29th – BIGGEST in NORTH AMERICA!
PLUS in 2014, Toronto will actually be WORLD PRIDE with even BIGGER crowds
RHODE ISLAND / PROVIDENCE PRIDE June 21st
NEW YORK CITY PRIDE June 24th-29th
TAMPA FL PRIDE June 27th-29th
PARIS PRIDE June 28th
LONDON PRIDE June 28th
MINNEAPOLIS PRIDE June 28th-29th
CHICAGO PRIDE FEST June 21st – 22nd
(they are trying to fill in the days in between to make a full week of pride)
CHICAGO PRIDE June 29th
SEATTLE GAY PRIDE June 29th
MADRID PRIDE July 2nd-6th
COLOGNE GERMANY PRIDE July 6th
SAN DIEGO PRIDE July 18th-20th
STOCKHOLM PRIDE July 28th – Aug. 2nd
MONTREAL PRIDE July July 28th-Aug. 3rd
AMSTERDAM PRIDE August 1st-3rd – with floats on the canal!
ANTWERP PRIDE August 4th-11th
REYKJAVIK PRIDE August 5th-10th
CHICAGO MARKET DAYS – August 9th-10th (not really pride – but a big party!)
OTTAWA PRIDE August 15th-24th
PRAGUE PRIDE August 11th-17th
COPENHAGEN PRIDE August 26th-31st
ATLANTA PRIDE August 27th-Sept. 1st
SOUTHERN DECADENCE – August 27th-September 1 (not really pride – but a big party)
LAS VEGAS PRIDE September 2nd-8th
AUSTIN TX PRIDE September 20th
DALLAS PRIDE September 21st
MAUI HAWAII October 4th-5th
GAY PRIDE is a time of celebration and with that, usually comes some drinking. MAKE SURE YOU DRINK WATER AS WELL! Keep yourself hydrated! You don’t want to go to the hospital with your boa and go go shorts on! (poor guy!)
Paris may be the city of love – but not homo love. Even though France recently signed a bill for Marriage Equality – gay hate crimes and hate speech are on the rise.
homophobic hate speech have risen sharply in France over the last year,
according to the annual report by a leading gay rights group, released
Attacks on gay women and men and homophobic speech spiked last year
in the run-up to the French parliament’s approval of a bill
allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, said a leading
gay rights watchdog on Tuesday.
In its annual report, SOS
Homophobie said it recorded 1,977 calls on its helpline in 2012, a 27
percent increase over the previous year.
The group’s head,
Elisabeth Ronzier, said the last few months of 2012 and the start of
this year were “intense,” with hate speech increasing
sharply, especially on the Internet.
She said incidents had doubled in October and November when compared to the previous year, and tripled in December. Read more.
A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands
of the City of Light
For the seasoned Parisian traveller or the novice looking to
get off the beaten track Susan Cahill provides a roadmap to parts of the city
most visitors will never see….
In a city that is
the destination of millions of travelers every year, it can be
difficult to find your way to its lovely, serene spaces. Away from the
madding crowds, the gardens of Paris offer the balm of flowers, tall old
trees, fountains, ponds, sculptures, with quiet Parisians reading Le Monde, taking the sun, relishing the peace.
These places are often tucked away, off the beaten tourist track, and without a guide they’re easy to miss: The Jardin de l’Atlantique, out of sight on the roof of Gare Montparnasse. The enchanting Jardin de la Vallée Suisse, invisible from the street, accessible only if you know how to find the path. The Square Boucicaut, its children’s carousel hidden inside a grove of oak and maples. Square Batignolles, the shade of the old chestnut trees an inspiration to the painter édouard Manet and poet Paul Verlaine.
Hidden Gardens of Paris features 40 such oases in quartiers
both posh and plain, as well as dozens of others “Nearby” to the
featured green space. It is arranged according to the geographic
sections of the city—Île de la Cité, Left Bank, Right Bank, Western Paris, Eastern Paris—a lively and informative guide that focuses on each place as a site of passionate cultural memory.
Beautifully rendered, THE HIDDEN GARDENS OF PARIS is not only a useful tour guide, but a tribute to
the gardens as sites of passionate cultural memory, revealing the history and personalities of Paris past and present.
About the Author
Ireland. She is the editor of the bestselling Women and Fiction series
and author of the novel Earth Angels. She spends a few months in
Paris every year. MARION RANOUX, a native Parisian, is an experienced
freelance photographer and translator into French of Czech literature.
Get the book at AMAZON!
Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light
Travel wisdom in your pocket, at your fingertips.
Get around New York, Paris, Berlin, and London in high style
TASCHEN 4 Cities is a 12 Vol. Boxed set of wonderful books covering New York, London, Paris, and Berlin. Each city is 3 guides – ”hotels”, “restaurants”, and “shops”.
We love that they’ve taken the design-oriented (and coffee-table sized) TASCHEN guide book concept and translated it into pocket-sized companions. Wonderful for gift giving and a great keepsake from these wonderful cities! Great photos and the text gives you interesting and useful information, as well as addresses, phone numbers and website address. $60 retail price, $39 at Amazon.
TASCHEN 4 Cities – 12 Vol. in Box (available Nov. 22)
Highlights include –
London: Number Sixteen, a chic South Kensington hotel in a beautiful Victorian townhouse with romatic gardens, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant and social project, Fifteen, where teenagers cook the meals, and Dover Street Market, the multi-floor concept store founded in 2004 by Comme des Garçons.
New York: the Maritime Hotel, a former sailors’ dorm, now Chelsea’s coolest hotel, the Waverly Inn, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s exclusive salon for the glitterati, and where to buy New York’s best cheesecake
Paris: Ladurée, the best macaroons in the city, the ultra-luxurious Ritz hotel on elegant Place Vendôme, and Colette fashion concept store
Berlin: hip nightspot Green Door, where one rings the doorbell to gain entrance, oriental delight at Edd’s, the best Thai restaurant in Berlin (perhaps Germany), and experimental store Bless, “publicizing artistic values through products”
Order yours today!
TASCHEN 4 Cities – 12 Vol. in Box (available Nov. 22)
If yet another Christmas at home seems like a stale, boring tradition endured year in and year out filled with bland cooking and ancient traditions, spending a romantic break in ‘The City of Light’ might be just what you need. Paris a city that is forever associated with love twinkles at Christmas with lights on the trees, bridges and even the Eiffel Tower, and this beautiful city has something for all tastes over the festive period.
La Marais is Paris’ main gay district, with over 200 gay friendly bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and shops. The area offers boulevard after boulevard of chic stores offering top fashion labels alongside artisan coffee shops, where gay couples can walk hand in hand and not attract even the slightest of glances, perfect for enjoying a croissant and a latte during those cold December mornings.
For those favouring a relaxed Christmas break, Paris provides the perfect backdrop, its world famous sites such as the Champs-Elyeses and the Eiffel Tower allow visitors to enjoy romantic walks whilst taking in the stunning views of the city. Christmas markets run in the city from 19th November 2010 to 28th December 2010 the largest of which is based on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the stalls offer up gourmet treats and handmade Christmas gifts, Les Marche de Noel are the perfect place to warm up with a Vin Chaud, a French hot Christmas wine, and enjoy some of the delicious French delicacies on offer.
For those looking for a romantic alternative to your average Christmas meal, wrap up warm grab plenty of champagne, some plastic champagne flutes and any of the tasty treats you’ve acquired from the markets and head to the Pont des Artes, a pedestrian bridge where lovers for years have been putting their Love Locks, padlocks with their names or initials to symbolize their love for each other. Despite the local authorities continually trying to stop people adding their love locks to the bridge this is an ever increasing trend in this city so associated with love. You could even make a pact with your other half that you’ll come back next Christmas to see if the lock is still there, the perfect excuse for another romantic getaway!
If your idea of a romantic Christmas break is a little more adventurous Paris boasts a wild gay club scene, perfect for dancing away those festive nights. Le Queen Nightclub is a gay institution in Paris and is not for the faint hearted; this is where the flamboyant fight for attention so not for the wall flowers out there. If you aren’t backwards in coming forwards however you are guaranteed a fun night here.
L’Insolite is a nightclub that shows disco is still hugely popular, not exactly the most fashionable of venues but if you’re looking for a fun-filled night of dancing and no pretention then this is the place for you.
However you choose to spend your Christmas, this beautiful city is sure to provide you with a romantic festive break somewhere a little different to home.
Charlotte writes for new travel site Simonseeks.com and if you are looking to visit Paris this Christmas, you might want to also look at the top rated things to do in Paris on Simonseeks, where you can find inspirational travel guides and expert advice.