Ah le gay Paris ! Although France seems somewhat on the conservative side, Paris is the gayest city in the country, with the Marais neighborhood being at the heart of Parisian LGBT life. The Marais (French for 'the Marsh’) is a beautiful, historic district in the center of Paris, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement of the French capital. Since the 1980s, the Marais caters to the gay community and is now known as France's gayest neighborhood and one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in Europe. Parisian campaigners celebrated in Le Marais after the Gay Marriage bill passed on April 2013. Each year, the area is also the meeting point for thousands of Paris Gay Pride participants.
The Marais very much has a medieval vibe to it, with narrow streets and architectural masterpieces. Gay bars and lesbian cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, sex-clubs and more can all be found here, mostly near the southwestern section of le Marais, next to the City Hall (Paris was the first capital to elect an openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoë in 2001) and the Jewish district, along rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, rue du Temple and rue des Archives.
The Marais is home to dozens of gay and gay-friendly establishments and a vibrant nightlife with plenty of gay restaurants such as Who’s, 4Pat (gay-themed pasta), Des Gars dans la Cuisine, Tata Burger or Les Marronniers, gay bars (Raidd Bar, Open Café, Cox; FreedDJ), a gay bookstore and even a gay baker (check these penis-shaped baguettes!), popular gay sex shops, nightclubs, hair salons, gyms, gay saunas and some raunchy sex-clubs like the world-famous Le Depot, a must-visit.
Spread your wings in Gay Paris
Don’t be afraid to leave the Marais and explore the rest of Paris: visit Montmartre, the Champs Elysées, or the Eiffel Tower, spend time at the Louvre museum and Notre Dame. Enjoy a typical dish in a cute restaurant, drink a café in a neighborhood bar, relax in one of many gay saunas. And when night comes, check our Paris Gay Guide: you'll find hundreds of gay bars, clubs, restaurants and saunas spread all over the city.
Next to the Marais, les Halles is another very gay-friendly area in Paris. Along the rue des Lombards and around, les Halles used to be Paris gay area before le Marais became the epicenter of the local gay scene. Le Banana Café, the Sly bar, la Boite, The Labo are only some of the gay bars waiting for you with happy hour and go-go dancers!
Consider a trip to gay Paris in late June and enjoy the two craziest days Le Marais has to offer: Fête de la Musique on June 21, is a hedonistic celebration of summer with a huge outdoor party in the very center of the gay area; and a few days later, Paris Gay Pride on the last Saturday of June. Paris gay pride, locally called Marche des Fiertés, is France's biggest pride event. Hundreds of thousands
The next big thing: Paris is hosting the Gay Games in August 2018, with thousands of gay and lesbian athletes flying from all over the world to explore and enjoy Paris nightlife and local gay parties, the gay bars and above all the gay locals. Paris gay men make this city a really unique destination. So make sure to put Paris on your gay travel bucket list. Vive la France!