Flash Cocotte

What: Club night
When: First Saturday of the month, til late
Where: La Java, 105, rue du Faubourg du Temple + other venues
Why: It’s cheeky, fun, and although it’s only a twenty-minute walk from the Marais, it feels like another world
Website: www.flashcocotte.com

Flash Cocotte (don’t ask what the name means, it doesn’t really make sense in French either), is an alternative gay night that happens once in a month at La Java, a club on the other side of the canal in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, with occasional sorties to other venus. It’s potentially set to move to a new home at some point this year, so keep your eyes on the site for more info.

Hetero friendly queer party

In its own words, Flash Cocotte is a ‘hetero friendly queer party’, and that sort of non-conformist attitude is exactly what you’ll find when you walk through the door. Or even beforehand, in fact, as the (long) queue snakes from the door through a charming 19th century covered market with a wrought-iron canopy protecting revellers from the rain. The contrast between the slightly dilapidated shops with their shutters down and the fabulous outfits from the partygoers couldn’t be more striking. Don’t be surprised if you end up lighting a cigarette for a drag queen or holding on to a bottle of wine while an immaculately-dressed young man tweaks his hair in a shop window.

Each month usually has a theme—often as simple as a colour—but many of the regulars decide that only their very best outfit will do. You can expect to see some very exotic creatures, and although the crowd is dominated by men, the gender lines are often left deliberately blurry. Once inside, the music is very eclectic, with nu-rave, electronica usually featuring heavily. The long, narrow dancefloor is always jam-packed, while darker corners are left for chatting and drinking.

Getting home

The dancing goes on until 5 am, at which point you can stagger outside safe in the knowledge that the first metro will be along in a mere fifteen minutes. Failing that, you can always hope a friendly local will do the gentlemanly thing and show you the way home …

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