Gay hotels Paris – a gay guide to the city
Gay and gay-friendly hotels and B&Bs in Paris
In terms of gay hotels Paris doesn’t offer that much exclusively gay accommodation – much like most of Europe’s big cities. Most of the good hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses in Paris are more gay-friendly than exclusively gay. Like with any large city, location is key when looking for gay or gay-friendly hotels. Think about where you’ll want to hang out for most of your stay, and try to find a hotel room close by. The last thing you want to be doing is spending hours on the Metro. There are quite a few smaller hotels in the Marais - many of which are very reasonably priced. These old-fashioned Parisian hotels are often a little cramped, and the less expensive ones often lack elevators. Another alternative to gay hotels Paris would be to rent a holiday apartment. There are a lot on offer, many of which you’ll find on our gay accommodation search page.
Paris – an introduction
For centuries, Paris has loomed large in the minds of travellers everywhere as possibly the world’s most beautiful, most romantic, most sophisticated city. Where London is big, rambling, funky and modern, Paris is smaller and perfectly formed, elegant, traditional and ordered. Monuments to France’s glorious past are everywhere, perfectly lined up for as far as the eye can see and dripping with gargoyles and gold. They are a constant reminder that for hundreds of years until the late 18th century, Paris was the capital of the western world’s superpower, and the epicentre of western art and thinking. Today, it is boasts one of Europe’s biggest gay communities, with a vibrant gay scene of hotels, shops, bar, clubs, saunas and restaurants.
Paris is definitely a city for walking in. Half the size of London, you can walk for hours and never run out of famous buildings and statues to look at, stopping along the way for coffee and delicious pastries in the city’s many cafés and patisseries. An alternative would be to rent a bike: you’ll find ‘Vélib’ bikes ready to rent all over the city, and they’re a great way to cover more ground. A tour on one of the many ‘bateaux’ that ply their way up and down the Seine is also fun – and from these you’ll be able to take in everything from the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay to the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides. Some of them offer drinks and dinner.
The gay quarter in Paris has traditionally been the Marais (which is also the Jewish quarter) – made up of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. This is where the major hot spots are concentrated: bars, cafés, restaurants, boutique hotels, B&Bs, cruising & leather bars, sex shops, clothes & decoration boutiques and bookshops (such as Les Mots à la Bouche).
The city sports many great gay bars and clubs (although Paris still isn’t a clubbing capital like London). The “Spyce” bar is an incredibly successful hangout, with its nightly dose of hot stripers. The “Woo”, a new nightclub, is to open in April 2012. Over the past 10 years, the gay area has spread beyond the Marais to areas such as Les Halles, Bastille and Oberkampf. Parisians’ favourite hangout on Sunday evenings is currently the café “Rosa Bonheur”, located in the beautiful Buttes-Chaumont Park (19th district), perfect for catching the sunset. Party boys can find a wide choice of dance parties every weekend. The best spots are “Mix”, “Gibus”, “Scene Bastille” and “Club 18” nightclubs, followed by some after-hour parties in the mornings.
Best local gay information
Every major city in Europe sports its own local gay websites or magazines, which are a great way to see what’s going on, and get addresses for the best bars, clubs, saunas and restaurants. We recommend you visit the Paris-gay website or purchase a copy of Têtu magazine from any kiosk – their ‘Le Guide’ insert is pretty comprehensive.
Best tourist information site
We recommend TimeOut Paris for up-to-date listings on the city’s top events and festivals.
Best Paris restaurant guide
Paris offers, unsurprisingly, the world’s best French food. Cuisines from the rest of the world aren’t as strongly represented however (as they are in London) – but Zagat is a good place to start if you’re looking for a good meal.
Once again, it’s the TimeOut website that comes out on top when it comes to a shopping guide for the city.
Best for meeting the locals
The internet is a great way to meet up with locals – or even with other visitors to a city. But different websites are favoured in different countries in Europe. For Paris, we recommend you try the French site CitéGay. It’s not very well designed, but it’s popular. An alternative would be Gaydar or Planet Romeo. Or, of course, download the Grindr app onto your smart phone.
Our top sightseeing tips:
- The Eiffel Tower by night. It’s less crowded, and the views of the ‘City of Lights’ from the top are spectacular. What could be more romantic?
- The Louvre – home of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo
- Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre -for lovely views over the city
- Place des Voges and the Marais
- Centre Pompidou and Café Beaubourg – Modern Art and a superb bar restaurant on the roof
- Musée du Quai Branly – art and crafts from Africa, Asia and South America
- Musée d’Orsay – superb collection of mostly impressionist paintings
- Notre Dame – on Ile de la Cité, then pop over to Bertillon on Ile Saint-Louis for home-made ice cream.
- Les Carrieres de Paris – the city’s catacombs
Our shopping tips:
- The Marais is a great place for funky little boutiques. The northern half (the 3rd arrondissement) is less touristy and more interesting.
- Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen – possibly the world’s biggest ‘flea market’ – with antiques as far as the eye can see. It’s in the slightly rough Porte de Clignancourt district – just take the Metro.
- Galleries Lafayette – on Blvd Haussmann. There’s a new Espace Luxe on the first floor – and the Home Store across the road is great too.
Paris is one of the most accessible cities in the world – with regular flights from most major countries. From the UK, most now prefer to take the Eurostar train service between St Pancras in London and Gare du Nord in Paris – as it takes you from city-centre to city-centre. There are also good rail links from other European capitals.
The Metro is your best bet if you want to travel large distances quickly. You can buy a ‘carnet’ of 10 tickets, which works out cheaper. The new ‘Velib’ bikes are a more fun way of seeing the city. There are also open-top busses packed with tourists. Or take a taxi – they’re not too expensive and quite easy to find. Again, the closer your gay-only or gay-friendly hotel, B&B or guesthouse is to the ‘action’, the less time and money you’ll waste travelling around.