Tag Archive | "France"

PARIS Part 2- After Midnight in the City of Lights

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Romance is in the air in Paris—from the architecture to the food to the sexy, exciting people that strut down the rues as if on the catwalk of life. Discovering the real Gay Paris is an exciting event that will leave you charged, re-energized and smiling ear to- ear.

Your adventure begins and ends at L’Open Café (17 Rue des Archives), a bar that doubles as an eatery, starting at 11:30 in the morning. This is the place to people-watch early in the day, and late at night. It’s at the intersection of Rue des Archives and Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, in the heart of the gayborhood, Le Marais. The closest Metro to this point is the Hôtel de Ville station. Enjoy some food, the passing view, and a few drinks, and get set to bar crawl the entire night away.

The nearest bar to L’Open Café is Le Cox (15 Rue des Archives). This small and smelly beer dive has the distinction of having the longest Happy Hour in the area (from 6-9 p.m.). Liquor up on the cheap and then keep on moving.

Should you need a full-course dinner during your pub crawl, do not hesitate to try the relatively new Café Voulez-Vous (18 Rue du Temple). The restaurant is run by the legendary Thibault Jardon, who ran the Les Bains Douches before it shut down, and was the artistic director of the iconic Queen nightclub on the Champs Elysée (now a straight club.)

One of our favorite hangouts in the neighborhood has long been the Banana Café (13 Rue de la Ferronnerie). Here you’ll find the Banana Boys, go-go dancers so smooth they’ve either just come from a bikini wax or have genetic hair loss. Either way, they are young and beautiful and prancing for your benefit on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The rest of the week, the Banana is a cute local hangout with a tropical theme.

Should you pass the Eagle (33 Rue des Lombards), forget any preconceived notion you might have of the leather bars that populate so many gay areas around in globe. In Paris, the Eagle is as homogenized as whole milk, and is more a flashy dance bar with house music and expensive drinks.

If a place packed with hot bodies, rubbing sweat to sweat is your scene, look no further than Freedj (35 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie), the popular club of choice this season for the pretty boys who are peaking in both beauty and muscle. If you’re unfortunate enough to be doing neither, you’ll get the once-over at the door and may or may not gain admission—it’s that kind of place.

Far less picky, and far more friendly is the Duplex (25 Rue Michel Le Comte). The attitude is laid-back, welcoming, and popular for that very reason, which, for many, is quite enough, thank you.

If you are of a certain age, and still feel the need to mix and match in open competition, there is always either Alex’s (2 Rue de Marivaux) or MicMan Bar (24 Rue Geoffroy l’Angevi)—two places where mature is in. If size matters, the largest gay dance palace is Raidd (23 Rue du Temple), where busy, loud and pricey is a way of life. Great music is always on tap here, so prepare to hit the floor keeping pace with the crowd.

Finally, Daddies aren’t forgotten completely in Paris. Your spot of choice is Bear’s (6 Rue des Lombards), a honey pot for bears, chubbies, Daddies, and those who love them. Vive la difference!

PARIS Part I – The Moveable Feast

Robert Elias Deaton is a world-traveling epicure who enjoys the finer things.

PARIS Part I – The Moveable Feast

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“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Or so wrote Ernest Hemingway. Then again, Papa Hemingway killed himself, proving, we suppose, that an occasional refresher visit to Paris is never out of place.

As with most things in life, the gays among us have a special gift for appreciating art, culture, rudeness, and depravation. And Paris has all four in abundance. Fortunately, the Parisians, in their love of all things flamboyant, have grouped the homosexual community mainly in an area known as Le Marais (”The Swamp”), in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.

The average vacationer in Paris will make the rounds of the standard top ten must-sees: Musée du Louvre (1st arrondissement– Porte des Lions, Galerie du Carrousel, or Pyramid entrances), the world-famous museum situated in a French palace housing the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo; Notre Dame Cathedral (Place du Parvis de Notre Dame, 4th arrondissement), the most architecturally stunning Gothic Cathedral in the world; Eiffel Tower (Champ de Mars in the 7th arrondissement [midwest Paris]), the iconic symbol of Paris for much of the world; Musée d’Orsay (1 Rue de la Legion d’Honneur, 7th arrondissement), a bright and airy gallery housing the largest collection of painting, sculpture, and decorative objects produced between 1848-1914; Sorbonne University which forms the historic soul of the Latin Quarter (Place du Sorbonne, 5th arrondissement), the center of scholarly pursuits in the city; the Arc de Triomphe which crowns the end of the Champs-Elysées (Place Charles de Gaulle, 8th arrondissement), the most famous shopping street in all of Paris; the Centre Georges Pompidou (Place Georges Pompidou, 4th arrondissement), a monstrous architectural anomaly that attracts street performers, art historians and students using its library; Montmartre (18th arrondissement), a neighborhood with its art-drenched history and charming, village-like streets located at the summit of Paris with its beautiful Sacre Coeur Basilica; the Père Lachaise (Rue de Repos, “Porte du Répos,” 20th arrondissement); according to an old lover of mine, it is the most hauntingly lovely cemetery in the world, where Chopin, Collette, Marcel Proust, and Jim Morrison are laid to rest; and a Boat Tour up the Seine (rhymes with “den”) River, the equivalent of taking a gondola in Venice, but on a larger scale.

There are two airports in Paris—Charles de Gaulle and Orly, with CDG the airport of choice since American Airlines and Air France fly non-stop from Miami. (Trivia point: In the current economic climate, there are no non-stop first class flights from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale.) All business-class airline, OpenSkies, flies from Newark into Orly, but is of little interest to those of us down here in the hurricane zone.

There are many reasonably-priced hotels (and many, many more unreasonably priced ones) in the city. But for high camp, there is nothing that outdoes the Hôtel du 7ème Art (20 Rue Saint Paul, 4th arrondissement). A twin-bedded room with private bath at the Hôtel du 7ème Art will set you back 75 euros per night. It’s in the center of Marias, it reeks with romance thanks to the posters from classic American throughout the place, and you’re guaranteed to hear a recording of Frank Sinatra singing “I Love Paris” at least ten times a day. “We’re with Frank on this one.”

Next week, we’ll cover the waterfront and the hottest clubs in town. Jusqu’alors.

PARIS Part 2- After Midnight in the City of Lights

LGBT Rights Figure in French Presidential Campaign

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PARIS, FRANCE – On April 22, French voters cast their ballots to decide who among 10 candidates will be the next President of France.

When Sunday’s results were tallied, two candidates—Socialist François Hollande, the challenger, and the incumbent president, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy—had garnered enough votes to advance to a second round. Although Hollande beat Sarkozy in the vote count, under France’s constitution the two candidates must face each other in a run-off.

The fight for LGBT rights in France has taken a different path than the one fought in the U.S., including subtle homophobia communicated from several of the far-right presidential candidates, according to European LGBT advocacy groups. In its 2011 annual report, the French organization Sos Homophobie reported that the amount of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity has increased over the last few years. Last year, there was an 18 percent increase in the number of reported cases of anti-gay discrimination in France, and the number of hate-related assaults in public places increased 43 percent between 2009 and 2010.

In the run-up to this year’s French presidential contest, Sos Homophobie submitted a list of questions to the candidates concerning equal rights and the fight against discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Another question concerned the laws dealing with blood donations.

As in the U.S., French blood banks may not accept blood from self-identified MSMs (a clinical term meaning “men who have sex with men”), in order to help contain the risk of HIV contamination.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent who came in second in Sunday’s balloting, said he supports allowing MSMs to donate blood only if they have not had sex in the past twelve months. The Green Party candidate, Eva Joly, and the anti-capitalist candidate, Philippe Poutou, both support a relaxation of the moratorium based upon individual medical histories.

European Court of Human Rights: Gay Marriage is Not a Human Right

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STRASBOURG, FRANCE – The European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that its member states are not required to grant access to marriage to same-sex couples.

The judges were deciding upon the case of two gay women who are registered in France under a civil partnership. The couple argued that their status prevents them from adopting a child as a couple.

The women, Valerie Gas and Nathalie Dubois, were asking the court to establish their marriage rights under European anti-discrimination laws.

Among other rights the women were petitioning for Gas to be allowed to adopt Dubois’s 11 year-old daughter.

But the judges said there had been no discrimination. “The European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage,” the court ruled.

“With regard to married couples, the court considers that in view of the social, personal, and legal consequences of marriage, the applicants’ legal situation could not be said to be comparable to that of married couples,” they added.

But the judges noted the importance of parity in all instances: “Where national legislation recognizes registered partnerships between samesex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation.”

McDonald’s Gay Ad Campaign

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McDonald’s Gay Ad Campaign – “Come as your are”

Check out this McDonald’s commercial from France with a gay focus and a message of “Come as you are.”

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