Ready for a gay Paris tour?
Here is the interview of Xavier, a local from the City.
Hey Xavier, you are from Paris. Tell us a bit more about you
I am 45 years ols and I am a native Parisian. I lived here most of my life.
Why do you love Paris that much?
Like many Parisians, I have with this City a hate/love relationship. Obviously, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, for its remarkable history, architecture, food, and way of life, but you really realize it when you travel abroad, and can’t find a proper croissant, expresso or frogs.
I must admit as well that Parisians don’t look that bad.
Which are the main spots you like to show to gay travelers in Paris?
Even 4 spots are really short for a vast and old city like Paris. That’s why I am offering a visit around Marais, from Les Halles, where I live, to Bastille place.
Obviously, I show travelers where they can have a beer at night and recommend places where they can dance or have fun. But that’s not the primary aim of the visit.
I told them about the history of Paris, gay anecdotes and take them to places they would never have visited otherwise.
For instance, I show them Rue Montorgueil and take them to this fantastic boulangerie called Stohrer, loved by The Queen herself, to the cheese shop, then we visit the gardens of Hotel de Soubise, we walk around Rue des Francs Bourgeois for the trendy shops, and we end the visit at Place des the Vosges and Hotel de Sully.
Then we take pictures with Cox on background … the gay Eiffel tower.
What about gay local life in Paris?
Paris has a very long gay history. The city has been forever a very liberal and tolerant place when it comes to sexuality, for straight as for gay people … you know Moulin Rouge, Lalala etc.
Many of our Presidents and kings have been libertine, polygamous, orgy lovers or Cougar fans as you could see with our last elections … so they could not blame.
One of our Presidents, Felix Faure, died in 1899 getting a blow job in Elysée Palace. We guess it was an excellent one ;).
His lover (was not his spouse of course … you’re in France) was nicknamed “Funeral pump” for the rest of her life, and exile to Sussex.
Most guides will never mention this story. We had many ministers, artists, the brother of Louis XIV, a King, Henri III and his “mignons” (cutes), and even a mayor of Paris for 12 years, which were openly gay, with very few laws restricting everyday life.
Cambaceres, a very queer minister of Napoleon well known for his outrageous wigs, redacted in 1804 the “Code Civil” which still the base of French laws.
As he was a bit concerned, he removed from those texts all the points which could be a problem for him,).
That’s a reason why Oscar Wild and many European artists moved to Paris to escape bigotry and sometimes prison in their country.
Nowadays we have many gay people coming here from our former colonies for the same reasons.
I think gay people live here in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Homophobia can naturally exist, but it’s very marginal.
Gay life is concentrated around Rue des Archives, and you can find there some very nice gay bars, cafés, and restaurants.
You can even go to a bakery where you can buy a very special baguette with a strange shape, you can take back as a souvenir to your kinky auntie.
Paris is not Berlin or London when it comes to clubbing, but you can have some fun.
My favorite local places
Rue Montorgueil on Sunday morning, for the market and to meet the local mates on a sunny terrace.
My barbershop in Ile Saint Louis.
The garden and colonnade of Hotel de Soubise.
The Chinese streets of Arts et Metiers.
Le Pied de Cochon, a very traditional Parisian restaurant opened 24 hours. Love the aquarium with the lobsters fighting for life.
Les Pates vivantes, where Chinese mama’s play like cowboys with pasta, and make excellent spicy food.
Stroher, it’s not a restaurant but a bakery where you can find all the yummy French stuff. You will need it to come back home bigger than you arrived.
Gay Paris bars and more LGBT venues
Cox Bar, Rue des Archives, for a crowded happy hour with all guys from the neighborhood.
Bear’s Den, because Jean-Philippe loves to say he’s some sort of gay bear, but straight.
Bear’s drop … because Palais de Tokyo is a fantastic Art Deco place with a stunning view of Eiffel Tower when you’re queuing for hours (better than queuing on freeze at Berghain). And because guys inside and music are hot.
Gay bars in Paris
If you want to know a bit more about Paris, have a look on Cyril’s interview.
Ready for a perfect gay day in Paris?
10 AM (well around that … can work with 2 PM too)
A unique place to enjoy typical French sandwiches such as ham-butter-pickle baguette, but you will come here for its real specialty: the beautiful and phallic chocolate brioche. “If they don’t have bread, give them phallic brioche” as some friends of Marie-Antoinette used to say during French Revolution.
Perfect for an excellent brunch to start your day. Ideal to surprise your boyfriend in search of romance in Paris: ” Darling, I brought you some soft cocks brioche…”. Could you say that elsewhere than in Marais?
Gay Choc is in the middle of the gay area of Paris. You can’t miss it.
At the time of Amazon, it’s a real pleasure to be able to hang out in a real LGBT library. The choice is incredibly wide: from the great classics of gay literature to the latest queer Berlin’s fanzines.
An impressive and exceptional collection of photo books, design and homoerotic, for a wonderful souvenir of your stay in Paris. We go there for Plato, Gide or an improbable lesbian philosopher, and we come out with a collection of manga or Japanese porn picture books.
Under neon lights and on two floors spreads one of the largest selection of men’s underwear in Europe. From classic masculine boxers to glittery G String to awake the drag queen sleeping inside of you.
“Bloody hell, darling. I left my dildos home.”
Or may be you just forgot your Chaps before flying to Paris? Your cock ring got stuck at customs, under the watch of 200 stunned Ryan Air passengers? Do not panic.
You will find everything you need at ROB. Black harness, G Lub by 5-liter barrels not to mention the collection of poppers. And hundred of dildos, plugs, and sex toys to bring back as little presents for your friends and family.
The best place to keep a permanent souvenir of Paris. Why not tattoo on your butt the name of the superb Parisian you met the day before? Jean-Paul, Pierre-André, Emmanuel, Charles-Henri …
6 PM … Sauna time … and maybe gym if you are brave enough
A recommended place during a stay in Paris to maintain your dream body. Prices are very accessible, especially from 21h. Note the ideal location at the crossroads of the Louvre, Les Halles and the Marais, the gay district of Paris.
A well-equipped gym. You will find many beautiful boys (not necessarily there to flirt). A more traditional sauna awaits you in the basement to relax and rest a bit bedore a long night out. It is a perfect place to relax for a few hours. Attention: sneakers and adapted outfit required to use the gym.
A Parisian institution for more than 30 years, this gay sauna is located in the same building as the Palace, a legendary Parisian gay club from the 80s. For many years, the Sunday circuit included Gay tea dance followed by an evening at the IDM sauna.
You have three levels of debauchery in which guys (often thirties, forties, male, bears) are not here just to turn around. For sure, you will make new French friends … A beautiful gym completes the usual amenities: jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, etc.
Note that the place is particularly busy between 16h and 20h weekdays, Sunday afternoons, it is sometimes so busy that you will have to wait in line until a locker is released (there are 300, so lot of fun inside). The sauna is naturist from Thursday to Sunday included. You will only be allowed to wear a mini towel to hide your colossal package (or the name of Jean-Paul now and forever tattooed on your butt).
IDM is located 15 minutes walk from the Marais.
Located in the same building as the club and cruising bar Le Depot it is the younger alternative of IDM.
In an exotic decoration, you can meet plenty of people including in the middle of the night. The boys can be a little shy, so it’s up to you to turn them on.
Attention: the establishment next door, the Moon City is the hetero counterpart. But since you are in Paris, why not try new experiences or regain sensations lost since your teenage?
Founded in 1995 it’s “the place to be” for happy hour (5 pm to 9 pm). In summer and especially on Sunday evening, you can find 100 or 200 people who hold the pavement, beer in hand, to the great despair of neighbors who paid 1 million euros for their « charming little apartment in the heart of Marais.»
Yeah because this is Paris, London style real estate prices, with Moldavian salaries. That’s why Jean-Paul, you know this guy you met yesterday, working as a fashion designer for Dior, bring you in a ridiculous 17 m2 studio flat.
Cox is the epicenter and the obligatory passage of an evening in the Marais, whatever the tribe you belong. A high concentration of hairs, beards etc are … A great place to know Parisians.
The bar invests the entire street during a music festival (June 21th) and gay pride, bringing together several thousand people.
It’s the younger, more gym and less bearded Cox counterpart. The clients will join Free DJ, Cud or a cruising bar after a first beer here. The terrace is really strategic.
The bear institution of Rue des Lombards, a sort of French Yosemite. It is here that begins every hairy party for bears, cubs, otters and their admirers. In summer you will cross the street between a hedge of big boys and bearded, a beer in hand and ready to devour lost tourists.
The basement is a beautiful Gothic cellar served by an impressive iron staircase. After midnight, the crowd heads towards El Hombre.
It is an essential complement to an evening at Bear’s Den. There may be some people on the terrace, but it’s mostly in the basement that the action takes place. You will find a small dance floor that can be surprisingly busy on weekdays.
There are both kitsch and lively evenings, such as the Wednesday karaoke party. Team and friendly customers in a very cruisy atmosphere.
The Raidd Bar has known its glory by hiring beautiful, nude torso waiters to serve you. For several years, François Sagat, the most famous and stylish French porn actor was part of the team.
Another major attraction is the shower that overlooks the bar. you will see soaping in public.
This is the bar to go to when Open Coffee and Cox start get empty. Located in the same block, you will only have a few meters to crawl. On the ground floor: a long counter, a billiard table, and a smoking room.
In the basement: a vaulted cellar where you can dance with some charming boys.
A two-level night bar that fills up at midnight when the other venues are closing. This is a place to dance and meet people.
It is the largest sex club in Paris since 1998. The place gets bustling during weekends and when theme nights.
A small nice cruising bar in the heart of Marais. The micro smoker room is ideal for making new acquaintances (or to get a lung cancer) in record time.
Another gay cruising bar, just in front of Full Metal. The same type atmosphere but on three floors.
The boss is very friendly. Another micro smoker room for your lung cancer (to believe that the ban on smoking aimed above all to kill gay smokers in this type of place).
This is the most popular naked bar of Paris. You will be invited to get naked from the entrance, so put your most beautiful cock ring.
The interesting part is on the basement: you can participate in some sort of orgies under beautiful Gothic vaults, especially on weekends. Though, the venue can be surprisingly busy even during weekdays.
2 AM on Friday and Saturday
The Gibus celebrated recently its forty years of existence. This underground club, with a sulfurous reputation, has accompanied several generations of Parisians clubbers.
It is currently the only gay club opens every weekend, from Friday to Sunday morning.
The crowd varies enormously from one evening to another, ranging from tweens to leather community.
This is the place where everyone joins for after parties on Sunday morning when other clubs are closing. Do not forget to get some phallic brioche before arriving there.
A bit of Gay history
Oscar Wild in Paris
«I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, tears are waiting in the petals of some rose. »(De Profundis, Oscar Wilde, 1897)
At the end of the 19th Century, a typical journey from London to Paris took 14 hours. Oscar Wilde, born in 1854, discovered the French capital for the first time when he was 20, with his mother and older brother.
The English poet is the most famous, with Shakespeare, to have wandered on the banks of the Seine.
At that time, Oscar Wilde left Portola Royal School, Ennis Killen, where he learned French, Latin, and Greek, which he excelled in, to join Trinity College in Dublin.
In 1874, the young man won a scholarship for Magdalen College, one of Oxford University’s most prestigious institutions. He published his first poems in Irish and English magazines, one of which, “Ravenna,” won the Mediate Prize.
He moved to London, and his talent and excitement made him famous very quickly. In 1881, his first collection of poems was greeted with devotion by the artists fin-vesicle.
Back in Paris, he met the most famous French authors, such as Verlaine, Mallarme, Zola, Daudet, Hugo.
He became friends with Robert de Montesquiou, Jean Lorrain, Pierre Louys, Marcel Proust and André Gide, who were the best and the brightest members of Parisian gay society.
Back to London in 1895, Oscar Wild was arrested and sentenced, under a law prohibiting homosexuality, to the maximum penalty of two years of forced labor.
His property was confiscated to pay court fees. His theatre shows were immediately canceled. After fourteen months of forced labor, Wilde wasallowed to write in his cell.
In prison, he composed two masterpieces, De Profundis, a long and brilliant letter to Alfred Douglas posthumously published in a redacted version in 1905, and Ballade from the Reading Jail, completed in Paris after his release.
Back again to Paris, Wilde died, at the hotel of Alsace rue des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Oscar Wild’s tomb in Pere Lachaise
is one of the most popular of this mythical and beautiful Parisian cemetery, where other nefarious artists are buried, such as John Morrison, Marcel Proust and Maria Callas.
The naked genius, which seems to be riding Wild’s tomb, was considered scandalous when it was erected in 1912.
The testicles of the statue were removed in 1961, and it is said that they were used as a paperweight for years by the cemetery manager.
A tradition developed with visitors kissing the tomb after applying lipstick.
A glass barrier was erected in 2011 to make the monument ‘kiss-proof.’ This tomb is considered an Irish monument overseas, and the Dublin government pays for its renovation.