Author Archives: Sam

My Gay Paris: Girlie Circuit – Europe’s Biggest Lesbian Event Warms Up In Paris

Why should the boys have all the fun? We’re always writing about bars and clubs for gay guys in the Marais, but there are some great parties for the girls too. Paris’ lesbian venues might not be as well-known as the city’s gay bars, but they are still well worth investigating.  There’s also the occasional party too, and the one that’s coming up this month is going to be pretty special!

In two weeks’ time, just after the Easter break, one of the season’s biggest lesbian nights is coming to town. It’s called the Girlie Circuit, and it promises to be a very long night, with the doors opening before midnight and the party going on til dawn the next morning. It’s in the chic Saint Germain neighbourhood, on the left bank, so it’s just a quick hop across the river from the Marais. That’s where the pre-pre-party (keep up!) is happening, at the Sly Bar.

You can expect some of the capital’s most glam girls, with drinking and dancing all night long …

Barcelona Beach Babes

And if it all sounds very glam, that’s because it’s actually the official pre-party for a much, much bigger party in Barcelona later in the year. The Girlie Circuit is a week-long festival of fun that takes place in the Catalonian capital hat’s right: they’re having the warm-up in Paris and the real thing in Barcelona. Sounds like nice work to us!

A Boost For The Scene?

With recent news about iconic lesbian bar Le Troisième Lieu once again under threat of closure following complaints from the neighbours and financial troubles, this could be just the boost that the Paris lesbian scene needs!

WHAT: Girlie Circuit Paris Pre-Party
WHERE: Le Rive Gauche, 1, rue du Sabot, métro Saint-Germain-des-Prés, with a warm-up at the Sly Bar, 22, rue des Lombards, métro Hôtel de Ville
WHEN: Saturday 14 April, pre-party starts at 7 pm, then the real thing runs from 11 pm to 7 am

My Gay Paris: The Eagle Has Landed Four Years On

It might only have celebrated its fourth birthday last week, but Paris gay bar the Eagle has certainly managed to ruffle a few feathers since it opened back in 2008.

The slightly provocative name might give you something of an idea of what to expect—especially if you’ve visited an Eagle in New York or London. To be clear, there’s no connection with this Eagle and the others (at least as far as we know) but the style is very much the same, ranging from cruisey to downright sleazy.

Now a firm favourite on the Marais party circuit, it has two very distinct areas with two very distinct atmospheres. Upstairs, on the main level, is a friendly bar area which doesn’t differ too much from some of the other gay venues in the neighbourhood, though there is a strict men-only policy and you’re a lot less likely to hear campy music. The other visitors, though, are what you’d expect from a bar which has plenty of space to play in the dark room downstairs …

Things are a little more exciting downstairs, though, where you can find darkrooms, a maze, cages and more. We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you what you’ll find down there, but we’re happy to report that they keep a very clean house!

We hear the fourth birthday party was a blast, and we wish the Eagle well in the future!

WHAT: The Eagle Bar
WHERE: 33 bis, rue des Lombards, métro Châtelet (or walk from the Marais)
WHEN: every night til late

My Gay Paris: Paris Bids For 2018 Gay Games

With summer just around the corner, the attention of the world’s sports fans is currently centred on London, where the 2012 Olympic Games are due to start a few months from now. Preparations are well under way, and it’s looking set to be a great success—or an incredibly boring couple of weeks weeks if you happen to live near the games and don’t like sport!  Indeed, plenty of Londoners are thinking of getting away from it all and coming to spend the duration of the Olympic games in Paris, and we’ll be more than happy to host some as many of the exiles as we can!

Gay Games

The Olympics might be the most well-known event in the mainstream sporting calendar, but over the years the Gay Games—and since 2001, rival event the Out Games (more on that later)—have grown in popularity amongst the gay community. As well as being a popular opportunity for gay and lesbian athletes to engage in sporting activities somewhere they feel safe and comfortable, they are also a welcome opportunity for socialising, with plenty of networking and partying after the sport is over.

Paris Bid

After months of rumours, Paris has just announced plans to bid to host the gay games in 2018. Better still, the city is hoping that the Out Games, which broke off from the original Gay Games acrimoniously back in 2001 and which will next be held in 2017, will have patched things up by then. The aim is to re-unite the two events and create a single gay-friendly worldwide sporting event on a fixed four year calendar, starting from scratch in Paris in 2018.

Paris may well have lost out on its Olympics bid back in 2007, but the city had put in a lot of preparation and the sporting infrastructure is very much in place. The city is used to hosting large scale events, and with everything from the French Open to European athletics making a regular visit, facilities including tennis courts, several full-sized swimming pools and plenty more besides.

Volunteers

That doesn’t, however, mean it won’t take a lot of work. The Gay Games are incredibly popular, attracting as many as 12 000 athletes, but they don’t enjoy anywhere near as much financial support as other sporting events. For many aspects, they rely on volunteers, and that’s why the local association, the Fédération sportive gay et lebsien, has already started work.

It might seem like a long way off for planning a trip to Paris, but it might just be worth pencilling a few weeks in summer 2018 into your diary!  If the French capital is successful, it will be only the second time that the event has been held in Europe after 2006’s event in Cologne, Germany; the 2014 Gay Games will be shared between Cleveland and Akron in the US Midwest.

My Gay Paris: Paris Goes Crazy For Designer Burgers, Part 2

For the time being, spring in Paris most certainly hasn’t sprung and when it gets round the evening, we’re still more than happy to tuck into a nice juicy burger, washed down with a few beers—or a glass of red wine—to keep out the cold.

A few weeks ago, we featured the current craze for designer burgers that’s been gripping Paris restaurants, with chefs trying all sorts of tricks to out-do each other and creating ever-more elaborate versions of what is ultimately a rather humble fast-food staple.

Well, they really are everywhere. If you’d like to try one, here are a few more of Paris’ up-and-coming burger joints:

American Bistrot— 74, rue de la Folie Méricourt

The name says it all here: the two founders went on a road-trip across the United States and wanted to recreate the experience they enjoyed in diners along the way when they got back to Paris. The aim is to be as authentic as possible, of course, but even if it’s not quite the real deal, the location more than makes up for it: this one is the lively 11th arrondissement, close to a lot of great (and often cheap!) bars.

 Mansart — 1, rue Mansart

This place is decidedly hip, with a crowd of bright young things packing it out most nights. It’s busy but a whole lot of fun and in the hip South Pigalle area. The same team also run Le Floréal on the other side of town, which also serves a great burger, so if you know that, then you’ll get the idea.  The vibe is definitely more bar than restaurant, with many of the customers here to line their stomachs before moving on elsewhere.

Maison Mère — 4, rue de Navarin

This one isn’t far away and some of its fans would have you believe that it’s the best of the bunch. Five burgers are on offer, as well as a fuller (but still rather meat-heavy) menu. It’s all rather hype—the staff all wear jeans donated by Levi’s, for example—but delicious nonetheless.

Big Fernand — 55, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière

This places bills itself as a ‘hamburger workshop’, with customers choosing not just the type of burger they want, but all the sauces, extras and so on from a list with a decidedly local flavour. If it’s a cheeseburger you’re after, for instance, you can expect some French favourites, rather than plastic hamburger cheese, while the pickles make way for things like grilled peppers or sundried tomatoes … The waiters are decked out in berets too add to the French atmosphere.

My Gay Paris: Vintage Pop-up Store Hits the Marais this Weekend

If you’re in the Marais this weekend—and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be?—then you might like to do some shopping at the Salon du Vintage, a huge pop-up store dedicated to vintage fashion and furniture.  The sales might well be over, but savvy buyers will still find a bargain.  Even if you don’t buy anything, browsing the stalls is great fun—and entry is free!

It’s the ninth time that the Salon du Vintage has taken over the Espace des Blancs Manteaux, a beautiful former convent with gorgeous vaulted ceilings in the very heart of the Marais. You can expect to pick up classic pieces from across France and the rest of Europe, with over eighty different designers showing off their wares.  And for those that are seeking to perfect the vintage look, you can also get your hair cut at the show itself, too.

As in previous years, the Salon will be paying hommage to a great name in French design. This time around, the spotlight will fall on Roger Tallon, who died last year after a hugely successful career that saw him designing everything from chairs to watches and even the interior of France’s high-speed TGV trains.

We can’t of course promise you’ll find something you’ll like—that’s half the fun of vintage shopping—but it’s well worth a look.

WHAT: Salon du Vintage Pop-up store
WHERE: Espace d’Animation des Blancs-Manteaux, 48, rue Vieille du Temple, métro Hôtel de Ville (or just walk from anywhere in the Marais)
WHEN: Friday 9 March 2 pm to 7 pm and then Saturday and Sunday 10 and 11 March, 10 am to 9 pm