‘Gay Paree’ is its gayest on June 25 when the city hosts its annual gay pride parade, known as the Marche des Fiertés LGBT.
Not restricted to the city’s pink districts, the parade starts at 2 pm at the Place du 18 Juin 1940 near the Montparnesse-Bienvenue metro station and winds its way across the city, crosses the Seine at Pont de Sully before finishing at the Place de la Bastille around 5.30 pm.
On a good year the parade attracts more than half a million people, and there are plenty of events around the parade to keep them busy — especially in the city’s très gay Marais District.
The Marais, a throwback to the time before the modernisation of the city that took place in the 19th century, is one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of Paris, known for its medieval and Renaissance-era residences and squares. It is also home to many of the city’s cutting-edge galleries, fashion, and home deco boutiques.
The Marais is also home to many of the city’s 300 gay bars, clubs, cafes and other nightspots in what is among the largest gay scenes anywhere in the world.
A gay night out in Paris starts late. Some clubs don’t even open until midnight and most stay open until after 5.30am when trains begin running again. Many people will not even think about dinner until after 9pm.
Gay travellers should have no concerns about venturing outside the pink bubble, however. This is a city that has re-elected its openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, at every election since 2001, and France has recognised the relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens with domestic partnerships since 1999 — one of the first countries to do so.
So why not take in some of the well known sights that make Paris the most visited city in the world?
See some of the world’s great works of art at the Louvre, survey the city from the Eiffel Tower, stroll down the Champs-Elysées or simply have a picnic on the banks of the Seine.
And with more than 300 stations connected by nearly 300 kilometres of tracks, don’t expect to shell out money on cabs — Paris’ Metro will get you within a few blocks of wherever you want to go.