“Everything in Paris is gay […] they believe in enjoying life—and don’t you think they’re right?”—Dubliners, James Joyce
Fashion, food, and art capital of the world, the cultural impact of Paris knows no limit. Not what you might expect from a city four times smaller than London, but this iconic little capital is bigger on the inside, and it’s more fabulous than Elton John’s wardrobe.
As COVID travel testing recently relaxed, and Eurostar tickets as low as £39 each way, there’s never been a better time for a cheeky weekend escape to Paris. Be careful though, you never know when a weekend could turn into an entire gap year (or for some of us, six years and counting…)
“Paris is always a good idea.”—Audrey Hepburn
You’ve just stepped off the train and into the hustle and bustle of Gare Du Nord at rush hour. Parisians are coming at you from all directions, you feel like Belle in the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. A short exchange with the station staff and you’re well on your way to the hotel (your GCSE French teacher would be so proud.)
“[Le Marais] is full of cobbled streets and teetering apartment blocks and gay men […] It’s the only place to stay.”—Jojo Moyes
For those looking to stay close to the heart of the action, nothing compares to Le Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissements.) This historical LGBTQ+ neighbourhood is home to some of the quaintest cafes, coolest nightclubs, and sleekest boutiques. Feeling like the main character in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film comes at a price though, so if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, try looking around Belleville (20th arrondissement.)
“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.”—Gustave Eiffel
Cliché as it may be, no weekend in Paris is complete without a moonlit picnic under the Eiffel Tower. I recommend a slice of brie and a simple baguette (just remember a corkscrew for the wine!) Get there at dusk to see the tower sparkle with 20,000 lightbulbs every hour until 1am, and you’ll finally understand why they call it The City Of Lights.
“One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters… But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.”—Charles Baudelaire
Parisian nightlife can be underwhelming if you don’t know what’s hot. Monthly gay club events like Flash Cocotte, Les Follivores, Powerpouf, and Lolita will guarantee you have your fill of dance music, good vibes, cute guys, and (of course) drag queens. If you dream of visiting the Moulin Rouge but don’t fancy forking out €100 for a ticket, you could always go to WET FOR ME, a regular lesbian event hosted at La Machine Du Moulin Rouge, situated just behind the theatre.
“Museums are wormholes to other worlds. They are ecstasy machines.”—Jerry Saltz
When it comes to Parisian art, most people make a beeline for the Musée du Louvre, and they’d be right to. It’s the largest museum on the planet, and home to arguably the most famous painting. Personally, I tend to find Musée d’Orsay considerably more enjoyable. It’s a little calmer, more manageable, and still home to a fantastic collection of art (Van Gogh’s self-portraits are unmissable.) Besides, there’s nothing to stop you from swinging by the Louvre afterwards for a pyramid picture or two!
“It’s a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise, I’d be a drag queen.”—Dolly Parton
Paris is home to some of the most exciting performers in the world, and one form of entertainment that has taken the city by storm as of late is Sunday afternoon drag. Be it at Acqua e Farina’s The Brunch And Queen, or at A La Folie’s Drag Bingo, there are plenty of options to get into the finger-clicking, hair-flipping, high-kicking spirit on the holy day.
It’s rare for a city as celebrated as Paris to really live up to its reputation, and yet, this charming little city has a way of exceeding pretty much any expectation you could have of it. Anyone who has spent a day, a month, or a year in this city should consider themselves lucky, and anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure should come and discover what Gay Paris has to offer.
Words by Jake Weaver
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