Paris as a Gay Destination
In a relatively brave move at the time, Politician Bertrand Delanoë openly declared his homosexuality in a television interview in 1998 – a decision, which to the credit of the Parisian population did not hinder his electoral chances when he ran for Mayor of Paris in 2001. At a national level, civil unions were enacted in 1999 enabling any French couple – be they same-sex or opposite-sex, the opportunity of entering into an official union and receiving the legal protections of marriage. The French capital is not only one of Europe's most enchanting destinations, it is also one of the most liberal in the country – where gay and lesbian travellers have the same opportunity as their heterosexual counterparts to be transfixed by the City of Lights.
The gay district is the Marais, which is situated just north of the Hotel de Ville in the 4th arrondissement. The area itself is extremely scenic boasting many beautiful historic structures and cobblestone streets. Paris' gay population began to inhabit the Marais during the 1980s and most venues are found on or near Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and Rue des Archives.
Consider bar hopping through the many venues in the Marais. Popular bars include Banana Cafe, the perennial favourite Cox, Duplex, Freedj and Quetzal. Raidd Bar is one of the largest venues and often features gogo dancers, while bears will appreciate Wolf Bar. If you want to practise your dance moves, head to Cud or Club 18 on the weekend.
Gay and lesbian travellers will be welcomed to Paris with the same French charm as anyone else. However, holiday-makers may like to consider staying either in the Marais or nearby to minimise travelling time after a big night out.
Marche des Fiertés LGBT
With typical French joie de vivre, Paris' Marche des Fiertés LGBT or, in English, the LGBT Pride March takes place at the end of June and regularly attracts 700,000 revellers. The parade generally begins at 2pm at Place du 18 Juin 1940 and entertains crowds along Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard St-Michel before crossing the River Seine at Pont de Sully and finishing at Place de la Bastille. Following the parade, party-goers are treated to an al fresco party, before the crowd converges on the popular clubs in the Marais.