Ready for a gay Paris tour?
Ready for a gay Paris tour? Here’s the interview of Xavier, a local Gaybassador of the city (and founder of Gaybassadors.com and guides4gays.com 😎).
Hey Xavier, you’re Gaybassador for Paris. Tell us a bit more about you
I am 45 years old, and I have been living in Paris most of my life. In term of professional life, I have been working in the internet industry for years. As I needed some changes, I decided to found Gaybassadors.com in 2016 with my business partner and mate Jean-Philippe.
After 6 months of hard working, we opened the official website in April. We already had 80 Gaybassadors in 14 countries and almost 30 cities, which is pretty good for a beginning.
Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, London … of course but as well as smaller cities such as Bratislava, Valencia, Nice or Bologna.
Many Gaybassadors are actually people we knew already and who loved our concept, and then gay-friendly guys and girls who heard about us.
We can offer the usual main visit to a city, but as well particular tours such as gastronomy in Madrid, Tulips fields around Amsterdam, or a tuk-tuk ride in Lisbon. Many people are applying. To be exact, what we offer is a marketplace concept like Airbnb or blablacar, and not a travel agency service.
I traveled in many countries, did the backpack/guesthouse stuff in India, South East Asia and America for one year, and the trendy gay places as well.
Sometimes during those trips, I really missed having someone to show me the city and to tell about local culture and life with a gay point of view.
Usual guiding companies do not offer this option. To be visiting in a huge group is not for me.
And meeting someone local on Scruff or Grinder to show you around can be a bit ambiguous, especially when you are traveling with your boyfriend,)
That’s why we decided to found Gaybassadors.com to help travelers to meet kind, cultured, gay-friendly local people to show them around.
First in Europe and very shortly in many other gay-friendly cities all over the world.
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.
Sometimes I think to retire somewhere in the countryside to raise dwarf sheep, or in the south of Spain to become a bear’s trainer, to go away from the big city, noise, crowd, etc., but at the end as Number 6, the Rover takes me back here. Paris is for me some sort of native village.
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.
YOU LOVED THIS INTERVIEW, WANNA BOOK FOR A GAY PARIS TOUR WITH XAVIER? Just click here
Gay bars in Paris
Gay clubs and parties in Paris
Gay Saunas in Paris
If you want to know a bit more about Paris, have a look on Cyril’s interview.