You may know Paris as a city of love, a city of culture, and a city of gourmet food, but you may not know Paris as one of Europe’s most gay-friendly cities. The vibrant area of the Marais in the city center groups most of the gay bars and saunas, although more gay spots can be found throughout the city.
With so many world-famous museums and landmarks, you may have a hard time choosing what to fit into your time in Paris. If this is your first time, there are a few must-sees, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees, and the Louvre. Though these sights will not fail to impress, will probably find that your best memories of gay Paris are more low-key: a walk by the Seine, getting lost in the narrow streets of the Marais, a picnic in one of the city’s many gardens, and an evening spent sipping wine on the terrace of an old-fashioned bistro.
If you have time to drag yourself away from the city, there is an abundance of things to do nearby, from the grandeur of Versailles and its gardens (or, as an alternative, the palace that inspired it at Vaux-le-Vicomte) to the good old-fashioned fun of Disneyland Paris.
Many gay travelers choose to stay near Paris’ gay nightlife which is concentrated in the trendy area of the Marais, also known for its boutique shopping, delicious food, and classically Parisian narrow streets. Larger gay dance nights tend to take place further out from the center, and gay saunas can be found spread out throughout Paris.
France as a whole is very tolerant of homosexuality, with Paris having voted its first openly gay mayor back in 2001. The French tend to be very open-minded about sexuality, and do not have a problem with public displays of affection. Visitors to gay Paris are unlikely to raise any eyebrows, and will be generally welcome.
France repealed its anti-sodomy laws during the Revolution in the 18th century, and discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender was criminalized in the 80’s. The country offered gay couples the option to enter a legally-recognized domestic partnership in 1999, and gay marriage has been legal since 2013. In a 2013 survey, France had one of the highest levels of acceptance of homosexuality in the world.
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