Photo: © KOVALENKOV PETR | DREAMSTIME.COM
OFTEN CALLED THE “City of Light,” Paris is also widely regarded as one of the top LGBTQ destinations on the globe. France, in fact, ranked No. 2 among all international destinations last year in the 20th LGBT Tourism & Hospitality Survey by Community Marketing, Inc., as well as the top choice in Europe for U.S.-based same-sex couples looking for a romantic place to honeymoon.
Paris is such a welcoming destination that the options may overwhelm LGBTQ globetrotters. Vibrant gay-friendly nightlife is among the selling points with some travelers. The Marais district boasts the highest concentration of after-dark fun, while Rue Montorgueil and Rue des Lombards are also worth checking out. Famed DJ and producer Dactylo, who took over as creative director of Gibus in 2015, helped to make that popular nightclub a must-see hot spot with its ongoing series of themed dance parties.
When it comes to accommodations, LGBTQ travelers will find even more options. A company called Absolu Living specializes in gay-friendly furnished apartment rentals in the heart of the gay neighborhoods. Favored hotels run the gamut from large-style luxury to chic boutique style. Among the gay-friendly options, the 99-room Hôtel Regina Paris completed extensive renovations last year and offers views of the Eiffel Tower. Also popular among upscale travelers — and part of Preferred Pride, the LGBTQ-friendly designation from Preferred Hotels and Resorts — are Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris, which exudes a neo-Asian ambience, and La Trémoille, set in a sumptuous, 19th-century townhouse. For a bit of offbeat style, travelers can check into the Hôtel du Petit Moulin, a gay-friendly property with funky, colorful décor by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.
For a gay spin on France’s legendary dining scene, foodies head to one of the oldest “gay” restaurants, Le Gai Moulin, opened in 1981. Its red banquettes have welcomed countless patrons of every sexual orientation, and its private dining and event space is available for corporate and family gatherings.
For a personalized introduction to the city, consider hiring a private guide or taking an LGBTQ tour. Experience Paris offers customized gay tours and trip planning, including a “male beauty tour” of the Louvre Museum that focuses on artistic depictions of the male form.
One of the biggest events of the year in Paris for LGBTQ locals and visitors is the Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans Pride March, held in July. Attracting some 500,000 every year, the event brings together 90 organizations and more than 40 elaborately designed floats, with plenty of music and a festive route that ends with a free concert on Place de la République.