Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Gay Paris: Underwear Shopping In The Marais

As we mentioned recently, fashion fever really hits Paris in the month of January, with the stylish Haute Couture fashion week following hot on the heels of Men’s Fashion Week. Shopping in Paris isn’t all about high fashion though, and if you come to the Marais, you’ll find it hard to miss one shop that specialises in the one piece of clothing (almost) everybody wears. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you’re wearing some right now, whether you’re reading this in your office or chilling out at home.

In case you hadn’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about underwear! Despite the fact that it stays covered up during most of the day, most of us are prepared to spend a great deal of money on making sure we get the right look down there.

Luckily for Parisian gays—and visitors like you, of course—one local store, Les Dessous d’Apollon, has everything you need. The entire store is dedicated to men’s underwear, and has all of the brands you’d expect to find, including Addicted, Barcode, Bikkembergs, Calvin Klein, D&G, Diesel, Emporio Armani, ES collection, Gregg, 3G, Look Me, Manstore, Men by Men, Olaf Benz, Paul Marchand, Pistol Pete, Pull In, Rufskin, 2(x)ist, UDY, Versace and more.

In a perfect central Marais location on rue du Bourg Tibourg, the store has been a hit with local guys since it first opened in 2005. Indeed, it’s hard to miss it given the eye-catching window displays! They really do have everything, and a friendly, welcoming team to help you find exactly what you need.

If you like the look of what you see online, you might like to know that you can buy everything that’s available in store is also available online at inderwear.com.

WHAT: Les Dessous d’Appollon Men’s underwear store
WHERE: 15, rue du Bourg Tibourg— right in the heart of the Marais
WHEN: 11 am—8 pm Monday to Saturday and 2 pm—8 pm Sunday

My Gay Paris: Fashion Fever Hits Paris

We might only be a few weeks into the New Year—and the weather is certainly pretty wintry—but Paris has been buzzing over the past few days because it’s fashion week.

Fashion Weeks Explained

Or rather, fashion weeks, plural. For the uninitiated, the multiple fashion weeks here in gay Paris can prove a little complicated, so let us explain how it works. The first thing to remember is that like in New York, Milan and London, fashion week in Paris takes place twice a year: once in the spring, previewing clothes for the upcoming fall/winter season, and again in the autumn, with new styles for the following year’s spring/summer season.

In Paris, the official dates by the official trade body, the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et Créateurs de Mode, with three different shows following a strict pattern every year. While Men’s Fashion Week obviously brings the biggest influx of gorgeous young men to the French capital, fashion being the industry that it is, all six annual events see a lively, creative buzz in the capital and around the Marais.

Men’s Fashion Week

First off the blocks is Men’s Fashion Week (our favourite!) which from Wednesday 18 January through to last Sunday. The city was quite literally teeming with gorgeous models, while those lucky enough to have an invite to one of the catwalk shows got a chance to visit some very exclusive venues both inside the Marais and beyond. Key trends this year included floating capes and new, higher waistlines for trousers, as illustrated here by Rick Owens.  The boys will be back on 27 June to show off designer looks for spring and summer 2013 and we can’t wait!

Haute Couture

Starting by tradition the very next day, the Haute Couture shows that follow Men’s Fashion Week are an altogether more exclusive affair, with only a select few houses exhibiting their collections. That’s hardly surprising given that some of the outfits cost tens of thousands of dollars, but the sector is doing surprisingly well in the current financial climate. There might not be many people willing to spend that much on clothes, but it’s safe to assume that the ones that are have got some pretty substantial savings behind them. The big news this year has been the return of collection by Donaatella Versace—it’s been more than eight years since Versace staged a haute couture show, so Monday’s event was big news.

PRÊT-À-PORTER

The third and final burst of fashion week comes later—February for the spring round of shows—and covers Prêt-à-porter (‘ready to wear’) womenswear. Most of the big houses represented in the Haute Couture shows have more accessible pieces, and they’re joined by a much wider range of designers.

My Gay Paris: How will the gays vote in French presidential elections?

With the French presidential elections to be held in April 2012, the question on eveyone’s mind is who will be able to best seduce the gay electorate. The gay population is at its highest yet estimates at 3.2 million in France and with the polls suggesting that the elections could be very close, at least in the first round, the gay electorate representing 6.5% could be key in the upcoming elections.

GAYS = SURE VOTE

A recent opinion poll conducted by IFOP , revealed that gay voters were more sure of whom they would vote for when compared to their hetero counterparts 61% to 54%. The same poll revealed that gays are more likely to vote for a left wing candidate rather than a right wing candidate. 53% will most likely vote for a left wing candidate, 10% for a centrist candidate with the remainding 37% expected to support a right candidate.  But with 16 candidates already declared in the race, the seduction process has already started.

CANDIDATES

The main issues put forward by this election are adoption rights for gays and  gay marriage. These two issues have been discussed by all the candidates and even some candidates are said to be changing their original hardcore views in order to woo gay voters.

Dominique de Villepin former right-wing conservative Prime Minister and rival of current President Nicolas Sarkozy has stated that he is in support of both adoption and gay marriage. This is echoed by left-wing candidates such as election favourite, the socialist candidate François Holland as well as the rising star of the left wing and former socialist government minister Jean Luc Melunchon who is representing the tradional communist party in a coalition of the far right.

Centrist candidate François Bayrou is more hesitant on the question of gay marriage. Mr Bayrou, a former education minister and who placed third in the 2007 elections behind current president Nicolas Sarkozy and gay icon Segolene Royal, said that while he favours more rights for gays, he is prepared to support a civil union with more rights than the current PACS ( a civil union between two people in France) but that he was not prepared to call this union a “mariage”.

Far right candidate Marine Le Pen expected to be in a dead heat with Sarkozy and Holland for the top two spot is clearly against gay marriage in an attempt to please the more hardcore catholic voters. Other candidates such as Christian Boutin of the Christian Democratic party are stronly opposed to both gay marriage and adoption rights for gays.

POLITICIANS COMING OUT

In recent years, more and more politicians have been coming out of the closet. Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe came out as far back as 1998. Govermment state minister Roger Karoutchi came out in 2009.  In 2011, Bruno Julliard (photo) former president of the student union that led a shutdown in France in 2005 against a youth employment project (CPE) announced his coming out in August 2011. Others such as Frederic Mitterand have spoken about their homosexuality openly.

With the new Prime Minister of Belgium Elio Di Rupo , more and more politicians are realising that what used to be an handicap of the past, could become an advantage of the future.

My Gay Paris: where to work out in Paris?

Even if you are in Paris temporarily, for a few days, weeks, or months, it’s possible for you to join a sports’ club to work out. Here are a few which might be adapted for you, depending on the duration of your stay and your budget.

- Club Med Gym. They are all around Paris. They belong to the famous Club Med travel business. It’s possible for you to enter their clubs even for one day. They are popular with the gay community. All of them have working out facilities, some of them have swimming pools. They might be crowded in the evening, just after office hours, and in the weekends.

- L’Usine. There are two of them: l’Usine Opéra and l’Usine Beaubourg. A day-pass is worth 50 euros. They have a limited amount of members (1000 per club). The architecture is stunning. L’Usine has everything you need to work out, as well as teachers (collective classes and individual), both to work out and to relax (yoga).

- Le Klay. The Klay is located right in the 2e arrondissement, near the pedestrian street Rue Montorgueil. It is meant to be like an American sports club. Their building is huge. They have working out machines, a boxing area, a dance area, a sauna and a hammam, as well as a small swimming-pool. It’s not possible to have a day-pass. If you know a member, once a month, you can join the club to see what’s it’s like. It’s possible to become a member for one month, for three months or for one year. They also have a partnership with the restaurant DEPUR, which is right at the entrance. The Klay has, as every sports club, collective classes. Just check out their programme online.

- Gym Louvre Paris. The Gym Louvre has over 400 m² of top of the range equipment and a sauna covering the same area again in the basement. There’s a hammam, relaxation area and an adult cinema: everything you need to leave you trembling with pleasure after an encounter with some genuine Parisian gays. Some of the gym’s hottest members are part of the city’s gay clubbing set.

There are many good things about joining a sports club. First, it’s good for your body and your soul. It’s also a good socializing experience. People are supposedly here to work out. But in fact, they might be interested in something more. Friendship, or something else… Just go for health and cultural purposes, and if you don’t expect more, you might be surprised in the end. People have also payed a lot to join those clubs. They want something out of their money. They are also here to make new contacts. This might be interesting for business! Just enter those clubs without any prejudice in mind. If you do so, you might end up with something more!

My Gay Paris: Designers In Town For Salon Maison & Objet Design Event

Some of the biggest names in the interior design world will be making their way to Paris this weekend for one of the trade’s biggest annual conventions. The Salon Maison & Objet, billed as a home-fashion showcase, draws furniture, fabric and homeware designers to the French capital twice a year in January and September.

This spring’s show starts on Friday, and is looking to be as busy as ever. Held just outside the city at the Villepinte Convention Centre, it’s actually a combination of several different trade shows rolled into one. The biggest—Maison & Objet itself—is divided across five different exhibition halls covering textiles, tableware, craft, decoration and accessories. Buyers, journalists and other professionals will be able to spend the whole week wandering across the vast site picking up key trends for next year.

Alongside the central show, other events cover contemporary furnishings, high-end design, manufacturing and collectors’ items. Just like the men’s and women’s fashion weeks that spring up in the French capital twice a year, the arrival of the trade show brings a whole new buzz to Paris, with designers and creatives flocking to the city. And if fashion week is a great way for mere mortals like us to get a peek at the upcoming trends of what to wear next season, then Maison & Objet does the same for what’s going to be hot to have inside your home in spring-summer 2012.

Creatives and Designers

Naturally, a lot of attention is devoted to the new items, fabrics, colours, patterns and trends that are on show at the fair itself, but most of the design professionals come into Paris to socialise at night. Spend any time wandering around in the evening and you’re bound to bump into somebody that’s been visiting the fair, whether that’s because they’re a one-man workshop come to meet new clients or because they’re one of the hordes of journalists that descend on the show every year. Many of them flock to the Marais to relax with a drink after a hard day’s work at the show, and the creative buzz is likely to be pulsing through the capital more than ever this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re lucky enough to be an industry insider, then enjoy the show. As the show is closed to the public, the rest of us will only hear the big news after the show has finished—unless we can convince somebody to sneak us in, of course!