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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Basel article click DailyXtraTravel
Barely an hour from Zurich, on the Rhine between France and Germany, Basel is both an ancient city and a modern high-tech chemicals and pharmaceutical center. A history of 2000 years has bestowed splendid architecture, such as the Romanesque Münster Cathedral and, in Marktplatz, the grand 16th-century gothic Town Hall. Of cultural interest there are the Museum of Fine Arts, the Jean Tinguely Museum, and the Beyeler Foundation (a contemporary art museum). Music events occur through the year, as well as the three-day Fasnacht, the most elaborate carnival in Switzerland, annually each Monday after Ash Wednesday in the old town.
It's a small but tight and affable gay scene in Basel, with some bars, stores, saunas, and local events. These include: Elle et Lui (Rebgasse 39), a longtime mixed local gay nightspot; Cupido Bar (Rebgasse 43) "for gays and their friends"; Capri Bar (Inselstrasse 79), known as "die kleine feine bar"; and Les Gareçons, a gay-frequented cafe in the Badischer Bahnhof, open until 1 a.m. on weekends. Restaurant Hirscheneck (Lindenberg 23) is a gay-favored restaurant.
The Gay-Mega-Store (Laufenstrasse 19) is just that. From DVDs to gay literature and novelties to clothing and porn, the place is packed with stuff. Joy4Men (Spalenring 1) is another erotic shop and sex stop in town.
Sauna Sunnyday (Grenzacherstrasse 62), at basement level, is a Basel hot spot. They have lots of cabins, lockers, a bar area, sauna, bio-sauna, whirlpool, a sling, TV and video lounges, plus gym equipment, and a gay sex shop. Here too are exotic (and erotic) masseurs. Sauna Dalbe (St. Alban Vorstadt 76) is another Basel tubs.
Arcados (Rheingasse 67) has a good collection of gay art, photography, books, and videos, doubling as a community center of sorts to locals and visitors alike. Their website is an interesting read (in German) with reviews and analysis.
Crush Boys is a monthly Basel gay dance party, each second Friday at Kuppel (Binningerstrasse 14). Other periodic dance events are listed at gaybasel, the local website, while Haz is the German-language site for a Swiss gay political workgroup.