Paris Gay Travel
Paris gay travel recommendations for the best hotels, gay bars, clubs, things to do & the Paris gay district.
The Gay Travel Experience: Paris, France
After visiting Paris, it’s definitely easy to see why so many travelers love this city. There’s a thriving gay scene, world-renowned food, and of course the luxurious ambiance of being in Paris!
Equally as important, I can tell you that Paris can also be intimidating. It’s size can make navigating tricky and the giant number of attractions can seem overwhelming!
For my friend Oded, Paris is a cultural and fashion paradise. He feels more at home here than his hometown of Tel Aviv. The dark and gritty Paris gay nightlife is attractive to my friend Tom. The financial opportunities keep my good friends Hervé and Ivan happy.
Gay Paris: Hotels & Where to Stay
While I’ve heard some people say Paris is small, I cannot agree! Judging by how long it can take to get around, I’d say it’s enormous. For this reason, your hotel’s location is important for a good experience.
Unless you’ll be splurging on taxis everywhere, keep proximity to a Paris Metro station in mind when choosing a hotel. The metro is cheap and expansive to get you just about everywhere you could want to go.
Overall, the most expensive accommodations will be close to major landmarks. To save a bit of money, look toward the nearest residential area that offers a local feel. You can also rent a quaint, authentic apartment rental central Paris!
Paris Gay Travel Experiences
Cafés in Paris are notoriously elegant. My favorite in Le Marais is Le Café Suédois. With outdoor seating in a cobblestone courtyard surrounded by ivy-covered walls, it feels royal. Make sure you order some freshly baked pie and grab a coffee refill.
Paris Gay District: Le Marais
While everyone knows the Le Marais gay neighborhood, many do not know that there are actually three sections. Each section of the gay district attracts varying amounts of gay tourists versus gay locals.
Le Rue des Archives is the area with the most tourists. Most of the gay bars are here. Local gay French men tend to avoid this area unless visiting to party. Here are some of the best 3 to 5-star hotels in Le Marais.
Beyond here you’ll find Rue de Temple, which is less touristic and offers a calmer vibe with some shopping. Even further, Rue de Turennes is most popular gay locals. Near Place de Vosges, this area of the gay district has a quieter and more relaxed vibe.
Ze Restoo is decently priced restaurant in Le Marais. I enjoyed their food and how friendly the waiter was. Perfect during sunset or a nightly walk after dinner, don’t forget to spend at least a little time walking along the Seine.
Things to Do in Paris: Shopping & Viewpoints
The best shopping in Paris is between Hôtel de Ville and Châtelet in my opinion. I also checked out some boutiques just north of here in Le Marais. My friend Oded took me shopping here and helped me pick out some new clothes.
Head to Sacré-Coeur for the best views of Paris! Climb to the top and enjoy the wonderful vistas. I did it in the middle of a snowstorm and don’t regret it one bit.
While at Sacré-Coeur, avoid walking into groups of foreigners asking you to sign petitions. I witnessed them become very aggressive toward tourists who walked past them and I did not like this. Take a route around them.
Outside the City center: Porte D’Asnières & Porte de Clichy
Stop for coffee at Le Trebois Café if you find yourself near Porte D’Asnières. I strolled through this neighborhood after visiting Sacré-Coeur.
Le Trebois is a bare-bones coffee shop, but the espresso is delicious, there is strong Wi-Fi and you can most importantly observe local life.
In the Porte D’Asnières, Clichy and Porte de Clichy neighborhoods, you can easily escape the tourist hype and experience local life. I spent one day in these neighborhoods visiting friends and exploring the feel of the streets.
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Authentically Experience Paris
Most importantly, tourism is not all about landmark counting! Often the most memorable experiences are not taking a selfie in front of a landmark, but discovering hidden spots and mixing in with the locals.
While it’s definitely easy to do so in Paris, I urge you not to be a landmark counter. Some “must-do’s” are expectedly planned for Paris travelers. However, don’t get too carried away just for the sake of saying you did it. Set aside some time to see the Paris that locals love.
Paris Gay Bars & Clubs
Nearly all of the Paris gay bars are in the Le Marais gay district. There are a bunch to choose from, so you can afford to be picky!
Raidd Bar was an absolute blast! They’re a small high energy Paris gay nightclub famous for its “shower show.” A completely naked dancer performs in a rain shower booth a few times per night!
The street level at Raidd is open for dancing and the lower level has lounge space and a coat check. If you’re visiting in winter, arrive earlier to avoid long coat check lines.
Paris Gay Clubs
Gibus is a popular gay afterhours party (starting at 4am) for the diehard dancers. The club plays trance-like music with heavy beats. It is a very dark, intense venue not for the faint of heart.
During a night out in Le Marais, I visited a Paris gay bar called CUD, although I did so against the recommendation of a local friend. The venue wasn’t so impressive.
There didn’t seem to be any Parisians and the music was a bit strange. Perhaps skip CUD or save it for last.
Salle Wagram Papa Party
A planned event with friends, I attended an Eliad Cohen Papa Party featuring Netta at the Salle Wagram. Many Parisians, Spaniards and other northern Europeans danced the night away.
The space is huge and I was stunned how efficient the security and coat check were. Clubs in New York should take note!
Papa party is just one of the many international circuit parties that tour in Paris. If you want to party, try to line up your trip with one of them.
Another local gay favorite is a place called Restaurant Bar. Although I did not visit this specific venue, one of my Parisian friends loves it. If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.
Paris Travel Tips
Local Parisians don’t party as hard as other Europeans in my experience. There are tons of Paris gay bars, but the nightlife scene fizzles out much earlier than similar large European cities like Madrid.
Options will be a bit limited if you are looking for larger circuit-party style venues, unless there’s a specific event happening.
The metro unlimited ride pass works on a weekly basis that starts on Monday. It is a bit strange in that the pass does not work on a rolling 7-day basis. Instead, all passes expire on Sunday evening and on Monday, new unlimited passes begin.
Buy single tickets until Monday comes and then get an unlimited if it is worth it for your stay.
Prices for goods and services in Paris are pretty much on par with other expensive cities. For many things, like coffee and clothing, your dollar won’t go as far if you are American. On the other hand, wine is cheaper!
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I always check Vueling first. Their tickets are some of the cheapest and I’d definitely choose them over Ryanair. Paris is a huge Vueling hub too, with flights to both the Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY) airports.