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April 2010 Email this to a friend

Paris

By John Rambow

Nobiz, Paris

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Paris article click DailyXtraTravel

Paris wears a thousand faces. For one thing, its architecture includes a bit of everything: Roman ruins and medieval byways in the Latin Quarter, the grandiose halls of the Louvre (a former palace); the Eiffel Tower, that ambitious 19th-century monument to progress; and the Centre Pompidou, hinting at late-20th-century unease with its exposed ducts and wiring.
Its neighborhoods are just as diverse. The major gay neighborhood, and the one that never sleeps, is the Marais, a once primarily Jewish district that since the 1980s has been known for its many gay bars, lounges and sex clubs. It's the home of Paris's Gay Pride, held the fourth weekend in June. Les Halles, to the north of the Marais, is an even older gay part of town, but in truth you'll find a smattering of gay nightlife in most sections of central Paris.

Getting here
Nearly every international airline has flights into Charles de Gaulle (also known as Roissy). The secondary, and smaller, option is Orly. Both airports are served by bus, taxi and train. To get downtown, your best option at most times of day is one of the shuttle buses that Air France operates from both airports. The bus from Orly costs 11.50 euros, and the one from Charles de Gaulle costs from 15 to 16.50 euros, depending on final destination.

Getting around
Central Paris is compact, and that means walking is usually the best way to get from A to B. Another good option for small distances is the citywide bike-rental system, Velib. It takes some getting used to, but it's worth the hassle.
The Paris metro is also a highly practical way to get around, but with service ending around 2am on Friday and Saturday and an hour earlier other days, you'll need to take a taxi if you don't want to make an early (or very late) night of it. Service re-starts at about 5:30am. For transit information in English and several other languages, see Ratp.fr

What to see
Centre Pompidou. Richard Rogers' and Renzo Piano's erector set of an art museum wears its 1970s stylings proudly.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery. The final resting place of Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein and Proust is a must-see for anyone interested in queer history and literature.
Notre-Dame. Its 12th-century spires, bell towers and gargoyles can't be beat for over-the-top Gothic allure.
Louvre. It's the home of the Mona Lisa, but that's just the start -- plan your visit like a military operation to avoid masterpiece fatigue.

in focus
Living la vie en rose
For hundreds of years, Paris has served as a kind of pressure valve for the rest of Europe and North America, welcoming with open arms (and sometimes other body parts) various oddballs, outcasts and sexual outlaws.
It was in a rundown Latin Quarter hotel that Oscar Wilde lived (and finally died) after being exiled from England. And it was on the stages of the Folies Bergere and other theaters that Josephine Baker, after leaving the racist US of the 1920s, found fame, first as an exotic dancer and then as an all-round diva.
After World War II, Paris became a much sought after place for American artists seeking to escape the stifling climate back home. It was here, for instance, that James Baldwin wrote Giovanni's Room, his tale of a white American boy who falls in love with an Italian waiter.
Even for artists who never actually took up residence, Paris sometimes served as a kind of surrogate birthplace for their work. The pioneering Olympia Press published mainly dirty books with titles like The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe and There's a Whip in My Valise, but its founder's tastes were broadminded enough to print immortal (but also dirty) classics like Naked Lunch and Lolita.
Of course, Paris wasn't just a place for highbrow art -- the city could (and still can) get down and dirty with the best of them. The last half of the 19th century through World War II was a boom time for Paris whorehouses, and during this time the city was sometimes called "Europe's brothel." Perhaps the most famous establishment was Le Chabanais, at #12 on the street of the same name, near the Louvre. The women here attracted artists (like Toulouse-Lautrec and Dali), heads of state and film actors -- including Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Mae West and Marlene Dietrich.
Gay brothels, though less common, were not unknown. Proust himself was rumored to have been devoted to the all-male Hotel Marigny and, in fact, may have been a silent investor. Bordellos were so numerous they even had their own Michelin-style guidebook, called the Guide Rose. Its listings detailed maisons closes and their specialties, some designed to appeal to kinky priests, others to fans of SM.
Legal brothels don't exist in Paris today -- the 1,400 still running in 1946 were banned in a post-war cleanup effort -- and Paris is no longer the land of would-be Hemingways and Gertrude Steins. Still, as you wander its storied streets, it's worth keeping in mind a time when the whole world seemed to be knocking on Paris's door, looking for a good time.

Top experiences
Partying in the Marais. It may mean literally "marsh," but there's nothing soggy about Paris's main gay district, which holds the lion's share of the city's gay bars, nightclubs and saunas.
Cruising the Seine. Much of Paris seems built for a stroll, and the area along the river is one of the best places to put that to the test.
Gourmet nights and days. Naming the "best" Paris restaurant is pointless; split the difference and choose one with great people-watching and lots of locals.
More than just the Louvre. Spare some time for more intimate museums, such as the Musee Marmottan, a former mansion stuffed with Monet and other impressionist paintings.

Event planner

June
Pride France
Paris has a full schedule of Pride events. As many as a half million of the prideful come to Paris to march, party and make their presence known on the last Saturday in June for the Marche des Fiertes, June 26, 2010.
See website Gaypride.fr for details on Paris and other French cities too.

July
Bastille Day
A parade followed by fireworks marks France's national holiday.
Paris Plage
For one month starting around Bastille Day, the Seine acquires a beach with fake palm trees, chaises longues and even some imported sand.
paris.fr

August
Paris Cinema
A two-week film festival for the auteur in all of us.
pariscinema.org

October
Nuit Blanche
Museums stay open super-late for this art-fueled event.
www.paris.fr

Accommodations
The choices are countless, but book ahead online for better prices. Of interest to gay visitors in central Paris:
Hotel Central Marais (2 rue Sainte-Croix-de- la-Bretonnnerie; 01 4887 5608) exclusively gay above Le Central Marais.
Hotel Louvre Richelieu (51 rue de Richelieu; 01 4297 4620) near Opera, Palais Royal Gardens, Louvre, Galleries Lafayette.
Hotel Beaumarchais (3 rue Oberkampf; 01 5336 8686) 31 rooms and junior suites, quiet interior courtyard.
Hotel Jacques de Molay (94 Rue des Archives; 01 4272 6822) Marais gem by apark and the shops of rue de Bretagne.
Hotel Villa Mazarin (6 rue des Archives; 01 5301 9090) elegant Hotel de Ville area option.
Hotel Mondia (22 rue du Grand Prieure; 01 4700 9344) a classic near Place de la Republique.

Apartment Rentals:
Parisian Home (12, rue Mandar; info@parisianhome.com) has furnished units, budget to deluxe; Marais Flat (8 bis, rue Marie Stuart; Maraisflat.com) has upscale Les Halles and Marais apartments. ParisMarais has Marais information, apartment rentals and hotel bookings.

Marais -- the gay village
For gay visitors the quartier of narrow streets called Le Marais (the Marsh) epitomizes Old Paris. Lined with cafes, restaurants, bars, boulangeries, patisseries, boutiques, theaters, and museums, it's been tres gai for years. Many come to shop, cafe-sit, cruise or watch the parade. The central artery is la rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, where cars are restricted, making room for a calmer pedestrian pace.

Les Halles
From Le Marais, Les Halles is a two-minute walk beyond the Pompidou Center. Paris's central market in centuries past, Forum des Halles is now a teeming subterranean complex of shops and restaurants and even a public pool. The surrounding streets are filled with bars, boutiques, card shops, discount leather and shoe stores, porn arcades, internet cafes, and American fast-food joints. Down the pedestrian streets of Rambuteau and St Denis are several popular gay establishments.

Above Les Halles, remarkable cafes and restaurants sit amid venders selling flowers, fresh bread and pastries, fish and fowl, and fruits and vegetables. Open-air market stalls are set up on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings on rue Montmartre just beyond the grand terraces of corner brasseries. On rue Montorgueil the epiceries, or grocers, resemble boutiques in quality and abundance

Bars & Clubs, Les Halles/Marais
Le Banana Cafe (13 rue de la Ferronnerie) young crowd, affable staff, energetic go-go dancers and quieter piano bar downstairs.
Bears' Den (6 rue des Lombards) warm and welcoming bear crowd that spill out onto heated terrace, and packed downstairs dance floor with some dark nooks nearby to play in.
Carre (18 rue du Temple) bar-restaurant, unhurried ambiance for brunch, late meals, terrace tables.
Le Central Marais (33 rue Vieille-du- Temple) men's pub below gay hotel, engaging bilingual barmen.
Cox Cafe Bar (15 rue des Archives) men's bar, crowd spills onto sidewalk during nice weather.
CUD (12 rue des Haudriettes) mostly men, dancing downstairs.
Depot (10 rue aux Ours) huge complex, diverse crowd, darkroom, Sunday T-dance.
Duplex (25 rue Michel le Comte) youngish late- evening crowd, art onwalls, house and jazz music.
Eagle (33 rue des Lombards) terrace, bright upstairs bar, men's basement dance floor with two ajoining backroom & labyrinth play spaces.
L'Enchanteur (15 rue Michel le Comte) comfortable pub on two levels with karaoke and video jukebox.
L'Imprevenu Cafe (9 rue Quincampoix) cozy ambience of mismatched decors, Latino-California coffee shop and hip cosmopolitan bistro behind thick red curtains.
Feeling Bar (43 rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie), hole-in-the-wall neighborhood favorite.
Free DJ (35 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) small bar, weekend dancing downstairs until 4am.
Full Metal (40 rue des Blancs Manteaux) testosterone-charged men's cruise bar, very crowded.
Kent'z (2-4 rue Vauvilliers) 1920s decor, cozy armchairs and sofas, in Les Halles.
Bar Mic-Man (24 rue Geoffroy l'Angevin) opposite Pompidou Center, regular-guy cruising, steamy basement sex, cheap drinks.
Mixer Bar (23 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) hot mixed crowd, cool music, Sunday tea dances.
One Way (28 rue Charlot) long-time regular men's bar, fills up early, open late on weekends.
Open Cafe (17 rue des Archives) crossroads of Marais, cute servers, drinks, light meals, sidewalk tables.
Palmier (16 rue des Lombards) bar de nuit, young and chic crowd, open to 6am, covered terrace.
Les Pietons (8, rue des Lombards) friendly little tapas bar and restaurant on busy pedestrian street, Spanish spoken, walls nicely tiled.
QG (12 rue Simon LeFranc) men's cruising bar, dress code includes leather, latex, denim and uniform.
Quetzal Bar (10 rue de la Verrerie) long-popular neighborhood bar.
Raidd (23 rue du Temple) nightly nude shower dancers, handsome crowd, basement lounge, buff and shirtless staff.
Scarron (3 rue Geoffroy Langevin) small piano bar, congenial conversations.
Snax Kfe (182 rue Saint-Martin) tranquil bar and restaurant, nice terrace, near Pompidou Centre.
Wolf (37 rue des Lombards) bear bar with varied music, Wednesday tapas.
Unity Bar (176 rue Saint-Martin) strictly for women, pool tables.
Ze Baar (41 rue des Blancs Manteaux) two-level bar & restaurant, convivial crowd.

Bars & Clubs, Beyond
Alexander's Bar (2 rue de Marivaux) cozy Irish bar, near Opera, laid-back cocktail hour.
Bataclan (20 bd Voltaire, Bastille) sing-alongs draw a huge crowd.
Baxo (21 rue Juliette Dodu, Col Fabien) restaurant and bar, American Sunday brunch, dancing.
Interface (34 rue Keller, Bastille) quiet afternoon ambience, techno and house music, new art exhibits.
Cafe Moustache (138 rue du Faubourg St Martin, Gare de l'Est) local guys' pub, backroom.
Rex (5 bd Poissonniere) young crowd, trendy music and performances in old cinema.
Vagabond (14 rue Therese, Pyramides) quiet district, regulars chat over pre-dinner aperitifs.

Backrooms & cruising bars
The French enjoy sex as much as they do discussions of politics or religion over good food and wine. Sex in public, or in private clubs, has a long Parisian history. The many dark nooks and subterranean crannies have provided discreet areas for sex play far into the past. Outdoor cruising, in places like Bois de Boulogne, are a long-standing tradition, but can be risky.
Besides the many saunas, a variety of bars porn stores and sex clubs provide sexual opportunities not only at the center, but in outlying neighborhoods too. It's worth the trip to Metro Anvers to visit MecZone, a club proud to stand a little apart from the throng. Others like MicMan are right at the center. Shops, including Boxx Man in Les Halles, are alternative places for sexual encounters. Some outright sex clubs, with naked-always policies, can be less impersonal than the zombies in the hall vibe of some saunas or porn shops.
Many bars around the Marais feature ancient stone arched-ceiling cellars, with low lighting and flickering videos -- and men in heavy sex play. Slings, glory holes, cabins and piss benches may also be provided.
Each place has its own ambience. Some are always naked, or have fisting events or nights for piss aficionados or sneaker sniffers, and some have showers, (but most don't). Condoms and lubes are usually at hand, sometimes even gloves and enema kits. Weekend afternoon parties can be as popular as the late night events.

Backrooms, Marais/Les Halles
Blue Square (8 rue Brantome) porn bar, cabins and dance floor.
Depot (10 rue aux Ours) the city's largest sex club, has black-out areas, a younger crowd than most, and a big Sunday tea dance.
Full Metal (40 rue des Blancs Manteaux) is a cellar with military theme, slings, jail, cabins, and piss bench. Parties include sneaker sex, leather nights, and cockring-only attire.
Impact (18 rue Greneta) an all-nude bar mixes both tourists and locals at the center of things, and there's a free Sunday night buffet.
Mic-Man (24 rue Geoffroy l'Angevin), a small local's bar right across from Pompidou center, has a hot cellar playroom with hard-core videos; busy all afternoon and into the night -noon-2am.
Next (87 rue St. Honore), sex complex has labyrinths, cabins, slings, showers and video salon seven days a week, and goes non-stop on weekends.
QG (12, rue Simon Le Franc) with denim or leather dress code is for raunchy sex pigs, with Saturday and Sunday naked parties among their weekly goings-on.

Backrooms, beyond center
Banque Club (23 rue de Penthievre, Opera) a former bank building with marble elegance, has big-screen cinema, showers, a hard-core action basement. Sundays are all-nude.
Boys Video Club (8 rue de Nice) a new sex club opened in the Bastille area this year, just as the venerable Kellers closed. Clean, modern, lacking atmosphere of more seasoned veterans. But willing flesh of nude go-gos and naked patrons, plus slings and porn, might help scratch the essential itch.
Bunker (150 rue Saint Maur) has private cabins, slings, glory holes, prison cells, and some extreme action.
Entre Deux Eaux (45 rue de las Folie Mericourt, Oberkampf) a pleasant and snug, welcoming bar where being naked feels comfortable, natural and playful, and regulars are newcomer-friendly.
Glove (34 rue Charlot) strictly for those into latex/leather, piss and fisting, with sling, maze and showers.
MecZone (27 rue Turgot, Anvers) upstairs neighborhood pub for sociable encounters and friendly bar staff, plus a dark cellar playroom with slings, and naked weekends to get down to the basics.
Transfert (3 rue de la Sourdiere, Opera) with 30 years experience this may be the raunchiest, most extreme fetish bar around, with nightly themes, and no cover.

Dancing, smaller clubs
The city's dance clubs generally operate from midnight to dawn. Some are in les boites de nuit -- tightly packed basement rooms. Others take place in large venues drawing massive weekend crowds. Local gay magazines, websites and flyers keep you posted on special events.
Club 18 (18 rue de Beaujolais) packed with young guys Wednesday to Saturday until 5am, Thursday Latino nights.
CUD (12 rue des Haudriettes) mostly men, then mixed when dancing begins after midnight.
Eagle (33 rue des Lombards) basement dance floor, with darkrooms and Tuesday Asian nights.
Rexy (9 rue de la Grande Truaderie) after-hours dancing Thursday to Monday morning from 5:30am.
Tout Arrive (16 rue de la Verrerie) small, stylish bar with dance club downstairs.

Dancing, larger clubs
Bains Douches (7 rue du Bourg l'Abbe) gay Saturday dances on two floors, plus other gay nights.
Depot (10 rue aux Ours) open seven days until 8am for mostly young crowd, men-only, on two floors, with cabins and labyrinth, Sunday tea dance from 5pm.
Le Madam (128 rue de la Boetie, off Champs-Elysees) classy Sunday night dance extravaganza.
Le Queen (102 av des Champs Elysees) mixed crowd, youngest & gayest on Sunday nights for Overkitsch.
Mix (24 rue de l'Arrivee) is the monthly venue for the gay Happy-Pulse soiree, usually last Saturdays, in this huge dance club beneath the station at Montparnasse.
Tango, la Boite a Frissons (13 rue au Maire) tangos, waltzes and cha-chas until 1am, then '70s and '80s hits.
Fluid at Club 79 (22 rue Quentin Bauchart) special after-hours dance parties. Next date: 11pm to 7am, June 26-27, 2010.

Day Saunas
Paris saunas with competition from the many backrooms, must offer something more. Many have hammams, the Turkish ritual baths mixing dry sauna, steam, massage, and time-out relaxation. Sexual adventures are provided for with dark rooms, mazes, and cabins. Bars, cafes, internet lounges, and work-out areas are also common. Most here are day saunas, busiest in the late afternoon to early evenings.
Gym Louvre (7 rue du Louvre) has full sauna facilities, a full gym, a cafe, and lots of toned bodies running around this immaculately clean and modern facility.
IDM Sauna (4 rue du Faubourg Montmartre) is a busy and popular club just beyond Les Halles with a very varied mix of guys, and sexy stripper shows the last Friday of the month.
Euro Men's Club (8-10 rue Saint-Marc), on three levels, has a mostly older guys crowd.
Key West Sauna Club (141 rue Lafayette) is one of the biggest and best endowed in all respects.
Riad (184 rue des Pyrenees) has an exotic ambience, and varied clientele, a bit out from things but worth the trip.
Bains d'Odessa (5 rue d'Odessa, Montparnasse) dating from 1895, sports a classic facade, and has no-attitude patrons.
Atlantide Sauna (13 rue Parrot; Gare de Lyon) mixes all genders and sexual orientations for those who like to experiment from any side of the sexual divides.
At Sauna Mykonos (71 rue des Martyrs), a homo enclave in an otherwise mostly hetero Pigalle, patrons are always naked.
Steamer (5 rue Dr Clemenceau) is a small and funky sauna on the Left Bank, fun for meeting locals who don't venture far from home.
Bains Montansier (7 rue de Montreuil, Vincennes), well out of the center, has a 30-foot pool, and it's popular with bears.

Night Saunas
The three night saunas are open overnight until dawn.
King Sauna (21 rue Bridaine) near Place de Clichy, has all the facilities plus cabins, and a mellow clientele that loves to sprawl in their popular TV lounge.
Tilt Sauna (41 rue Sainte Anne) France's first gay sauna opened in 1974, located near Palais Royal amid the many Japanese shops and restaurants, open all day and all night.
Sun City (62 Boulevard de Sebastopol) vast Marais facility on three levels attached to Le Depot sex club. India-inspired decor with giant Ganesh at the entrance, full sauna facilities, dark rooms, cabins, beautiful pool, and bar. Sometimes better for voyeurs than sex-pigs if pretty patrons get too picky.

The 'real' Paris
Everyone knows of the Champs Elysees, or the Left Bank, but quintessential Paris is said to reside in the neighborhoods surrounding Sacre-Coeur, the iconic basilica atop one of the city's few hills. The historical marker celebrates the district's habitation since the time of Druids. Near the base of the furnicular is a neighborhood of many bargain stores, bars and restaurants, and close by, the Pigalle red-light district.
Around the Place de la Bastille area are many more small shops, restaurants and bars. Les Passages are two dozen surviving 19th-century covered shopping arcades filled with quirky little boutiques.

Restaurants
French cuisine stands atop the world and Paris sits at the center. Not only for native foods, this city wants to experience all the others too, so every culture and tradition is represented, often in neighborhood clusters. Much as in New York you'd never have time to try them all. A few follow, and click HERE for a list of some more to start you off around the neighborhood - then go explore for yourself.

Restaurants, traditional
After cocktails, Parisians head for the restaurants In continental style, there's often seating at 9pm and 11:30pm.
Aux Trois Petits Cochons (31 rue Tiquetonne) superb classic French cuisine, excellent service, and a solid reputation.
Pig'z (5 rue Marie Stuart) classic Parisian with a twist, with a modern vibe in a relaxed setting.
L'Alivi (27 rue du Roi de Sicile) known for their Corsican cuisine.
48 Condorcet (48 rue Condorcet, Anvers) intimate setting, homey countryside ambience, modern cuisine prepared by chefs who know their stuff and care enough to do it right.
Cote 9eme Restaurant (5 rue Henri Monnier, Anvers) relaxed ambience for traditional dining, near Place Pigalle.
Vagabond (14 rue Therese, Pyramides) in a well-established gay neighborhood, carefully prepared traditional cuisine, a convivial staff and lively crowd of regulars.

Restaurants, other
Loup Blanc (42 rue Tiquetonne) relaxed vibe, specialties of grilled meats, unique mix of world cuisine, a gay favorite every night until midnight with a popular Sunday brunch until 4:30pm.
Stuart Friendly (16 rue Marie Stuart) popular hetero-friendly tea and coffee salon for lunch, dinner and brunch, served in a setting of modern minimalist decor.
Lezard Cafe (41 rue Tiquetonne) big sprawling gay-friendly cafe and bistro with large heated sidewalk terrace.
Curieux Spaghetti Bar (14 rue Saint Merri) with a variety of unusual pasta dishes, and an offbeat clientele right on the main drag between Les Halles and Le Marais.
Ozo (37, rue Quincampoix) freshest meat, poultry and fish filets, individually cooked in sauce or seasoning of your choice. Also grand Sunday brunches until 4:30pm.
Diable des Lombards (64 rue des Lombards) perfect for late sleepers, American brunch is served until 6pm.
Carre (18 rue du Temple) bar and restaurant, inviting terrace filled with the fashionable set - to see and be seen. Sunday brunch served until 5pm.
Cafe Beaubourg (43 rue St Marri), a well-situated terrace overlooking the Marais throng.

Take-out
Legay Choc. (45 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) handmade breads, irresistible quiches, cakes and tarts of many flavors, and penis-shaped bagettes while they last.
Sandwicherie Legay Choc (17 rue des Archives) has tasty, generous and nicely priced sandwiches for those on the run in the gayborhood.
Victor 1920 (33 rue Rambuteau), sandwiches, pies, tarts and other sweet & savory take-out treats.

Sex boutiques
Les Halles and Le Marais are famous for sex shops and peep shows, particulary along rue Saint Denis. Look for rainbow decals, but check the following shops first.
Boxxman (2 rue de la Cossonnerie) magazines, big DVD sections, video booths, unfiltered internet.
BMC Video (21 rue des Lombards) wide range of DVD viewing choices for 10 euros.
IEM (16 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie; 43 rue de l'Arbre-Sec) big DVD section, sex magazines, books, toys.
Club 88 (88 rue Saint-Denis) mixed sex shop with gay DVD section and cruisy booths.
Rob@Zone 2 (8 sq Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) leather, rubber wear and fetish items. Also at this address the Menstore Boutique has sex videos and a wide range of sexual accessories.
Rex (42 rue de Poitou) serious fetish, leather and latex gear, body enhancements, accessories.

Shopping -- Marais
Boy'z Bazaar (5 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) many labels of fashionable club attire, cute staff and customers.
Comptoir du Marais (8 rue de Moussy) and PierreTalamon (15 rue du Temple) are two more local shops for the latest fashions of Parisian males.
Pharmacie Du Village (26 rue du Temple) gay pharmacy open until 8pm.
Space'Hair (10 rue Rambuteau) fashionable hair salon that plays great music.
Sunlimited (3 bd. de Sebastopol) can banish wet gray days from mind with tanning facilities and special events.
Among the many bookstores some stand above the rest.
Gallerie Au Bonheur du Jour (11 rue Chabanais) has classic male erotic photo prints and drawings.
Les Mots a la Bouche (6 rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie) overflows with gay literature, graphics, and photo books on two levels. Their windows alone provide an education for passers-by.
Blue Book Paris gay bookstore, gallery and coffeeshop is closed while they look for new store space.

Shopping Centers
Galleries Lafayette is a big indoor shopping center not far from the Louvre, and department stores line the busy Rue de Rivoli, near Paris City Hall.

Films
Festival de Films Gay & Lesbiens de Paris, the annual glbt film festival takes place on November 12-21, 2010. Check their website for details in French and English.

The French love films from everywhere around the world, in many languages, of many periods. The area around Centre Pompidou has several legendary cinemas.
Forum des Images, in Forum des Halles, showcases the best directors at affordable prices.
Cinema UGC Cine Cite, also in Forum des Halles has over 20 screens, and shows many English-language films.
MK2 Beaubourg (50 rue Rambuteau) screens films from many lands in a complex of small cinema rooms on the pedestrian street beside the Pompidou Center.
Cinefil Cinema Latina (20 rue du Temple), located just across from bar Raidd, features original Spanish or English language titles.
The grand decor & gigantic screens of Cinema Grand Rex (1 bd Poissonniere), and Gaumont Opera Premier (32 rue Louis Le Grand) hark back to an older Paris.

Theater
Theaters abound in Les Halles and Le Marais. Twenty of these are listed at Parismarais.com, including one that houses a permanent circus, the Cirque D'Hiver Bouglione (110 rue Amelot) with shows year-round.

Sights & Museums
Purchase tickets to monuments and museum ahead of time to avoid the lines. Try your hotel, tourist offices, Parismuseumpass.com, or museum websites.

Home to the Mona Lisa, the Louvre is all you've heard multiplied a hundred fold. Wear comfortable shoes and consider visiting Wednesday or Friday evening, when it is less crowded and open until 10pm.
Pompidou Center has contemporary art, photography, film, and music. Definitely make time for the 6th-floor restaurant, which has a view of the rooftops.
Musee Carnavalet , (23 rue de Sevigne) has 17th- century rooms, an interior garden and a bookshop.
Other museums include:
Musee National Picasso, , Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, and Le Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle.

Gay media
2X has two weeks of bar listings, special events and reviews. Look for their free gay maps in the clubs.
Agenda Q focuses on the fetish/leather/sex club scenes.
Tribu Move and Sensitif are two gay glossy freebies.
Tetu Magazine is France's national gay glossy, full of interesting essays, insightful reviews, dazzling photos and bar and party listings.
See more Paris listings in the box at top left of this page.

Staying on budget
A reputation for sky-high prices and fluctuations in exchange rates shouldn't discourage visitors. Good rooms can be found off-season for 49 to 60 euros even at the city center. Short Metro or bus hops can introduce you to neighborhoods outside the tourist zones where you'll find real Parisians. But even at the center, a few euros will buy a seat at one of many splendid terrace sidewalk cafes for coffee, conversation, or merely watching Parisian street life.
Not counting a spurge of two for truly memorable meals, you can reuce daily costs by sampling the abundance of inexpensive street fare, from sidewalk crepes to delicious brasserie omelets and quiches to fresh sandwiches on crusty bread from any of the ubiquitous bakeries. Also take advantage of Asian take-outs and Middle-Eastern fast food. These can more than sustain you for amazingly little money.

Resources
ParisMarais is helpful with entertaining info about the gayest neighborhood, furnished apartments, and hotel bookings.
Paris-Gay.com and Paris.org offer listings and general information.
Manstouch/Experience Paris is an English-language blog with some good tips on what's up around town.
See An American Returns to Paris by Frank Laterreur, from our March 2008 issue.

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