Since the middle of 2013, French follow a passionate debate about Gay Mariage. The right wing and the churches in France have put all their efforts against the project, and they start following the violent extremist right wings in street demonstrations and public insults against homosexuals. As homophobia was heard in every media with no more limit, some violent groups began to intimidate members of parlment, vandalize venues or bash gays in the street. So we are sad, on a website who always talked about the great tolerance of French for private affairs, to warn tourists about this new atmosphere in Paris. It's not our goal to say that it became a dangerous city, as it is not. But you have to be aware and cautious. Hoping the things will calm down since the law has passed.
Paris has a huge choice of gay or lesbian venues (317 different adresses in the guide section!). Most of them are concentrated in the very center district called "Le Marais" (the swamp), in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. In these historic narrow streets, so typical of Paris, are most gay and lesbian bars, restaurants or fashion shops. While going from museums to hotels particuliers, while shopping in Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie street or visiting the splendor of Place des Vosges, tourists meet same sex couples going out in Marais' venues.
Boys can start discovering Le Marais by visiting Open Cafe at the crossroad of two main streets, rue Des Archives and rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie. The busy streets, especially in late afternoon, show a good sample of gay life in the neighborhood. After this first look, it is always interesting to try smaller bars and less known venues. When it comes to Le Marais, some talk of a Gay Ghetto, others prefer to see a friendly district.
Girls will prefer another crossroad in south Marais between rue Du Roi de Sicile and rue Des Ecouffes. In few steps, they can see three of the main lesbian bars in Paris and the only female dedicated sex-shop.
Two steps from there, the former gay district of Les Halles or Montorgueil (1st arrondissement) in the70's 80's, has kept lots of rainbow venues.
In the rest of the town, gay lesbian or gay-friendly places are in almost every district, but somehow more discrete. Though they are often more friendly than the Marais' ones and can reserve good surprises.
Bars usually open at the beginning of the afternoon or around 5pm and close at two o'clock in the morning (the legal and compulsory hour). Some can be open until morning by a special license. Note that all bars are fully licenced. Clubs open around midnight for all night long, and sometimes untill noon ! Public transport is closed between 1am and 5. 30am, except on Fridays and Saturday nights when it closes at 2am. In between, you will need to use taxis (very rare in week-ends) or night buses.
Many parisian gays prefer not to go in oriented places and mix with the usual people with no problem. Be carefull anyway: Some bars or restaurants could dislike to see you french kiss your boyfriend ;-)
Since the beginning of 2008, all public venues are non-smoking. Patrons can smoke on open terraces and in rare smoking areas in some bars, club or restaurants. As these areas are very expensive to be in norms, they are very few.
You can do your own guide with your favorites venues.