It’s not often I fall in love with something (or someone) in a matter of minutes, but in Paris I did just that. The architecture, the history, the pretty little cafes and pop-up furniture shops, the crepes, the men; I loved it all.
I was drunk in love, and my affection stemmed from Paris’ fantastic gay village, where I stayed recently for a couple of days.
The gay scene in Paris – the Le Marais district (the marsh in English) – is centrally located and close to some of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, including the Notre Dame cathedral, Louvre art museum and the River Seine.
It’s also home to some of the best gay bars and venues in Europe. Here’s our tips to making the most of ‘gay paree’:
For sleep enthusiasts: Hotels are reasonably priced, with some great offers available if you book in advance. We stayed at the spacious, quiet apart-hotel Citadines Les Halles Paris, where you have the added bonus of a kitchen should you wish to save money and eat in.
There are plenty of other hotel options too – check our full listing of Paris hotels here.
For food lovers: the gay-friendly cafés and restaurants of Le Marais will certainly tease your taste buds. Sit opposite the mesmerising Pompidou centre at Café Beaubourg and enjoy their delicious brunch menu, or unwind in the modern atmosphere of Le Who’s.
Shop till your heart’s content
For shopping fanatics: Whilst the streets are lined with all the top retail chains, the Paris gay village is also home to some fabulous gay stores. Popular men’s department store BHV Homme is a must, whilst leather and fetish fans should visit Mister B and RoB Paris.
For happy hour heroes: Love cheap drinks? There are plenty of great happy hour offers available in the gay scene. Sit out on the delightful terrace at Open Café and down cheap beer, or sip thirst-quenching, cheap cocktails at Cox.
Dance the night away
For dance-floor divas: Drop-it like it’s hot at club CUD, a favourite with the young gay scene. Alternatively, move your hips to the music at freedj, where their small basement dancefloor is the perfect opportunity to make acquaintances with hot Parisians.
And for the big finale: You just have to finish your night at RAIDD, where their world-famous go-go dancer shower shows are both shocking and entertaining. Be careful you don’t get too wet!
What are your favourite gay venues in Paris? Tweet us your opinion on Twitter @travelgayeurope