Gay and Lesbian Nightlife in Paris
Concierge.com's insider take:
Queen is still the mother ship of gay nightlife in Paris, a giant dance palace on the Champs Elysées that feels like you've walked straight into a disco ball. During the week it's a mixed crowd, but the weekend gay-themed parties are legendary (102 Ave. des Champs-Elysées; 33-1-53-89-08-90; www.queen.fr). When Queen's owners wanted to expand in 2005, they chose Le Mix Club, a nightclub at the border of Montparnasse that once belonged to French icon and songster Johnny Halliday; international DJs playing a mix of electronica and techno are imported for the Sunday "tea dances" (24 Rue de L'Arrivée; 33-1-56-80-37-37; www.mixclub.fr). Renovated and reopened Les Bains Douches is regaining its reputation for fun with weekly dinner-dances on its flashing dance floor (7 Rue du Bourg L'Abbé; 33-1-53-01-40-60; www.lesbains.info). In the Bastille neighborhood, La Scène, with its old-fashioned rock stage and theatrical atmosphere, has both live music and "clubbing" nights, including a popular gay Sunday night fete (2 bis Rue des Taillandiers; 33-1-48-06-50-70; www.la-scene.com). And Open Café is a fine place to start your evening with a cocktail or beer, and to find out where the rest of the night might leadyou'll see the throngs of well-coiffed gentlemen crowding its terraces from several blocks away (17 Rue des Archives; www.opencafe.fr).
For a taste of lesbian history in motion, visit Le Rive Gauche in Saint Germain: It is reputed to be the former hangout of Gertrude Stein and Natalie Barney, though it's doubtful they saw it lined with mirrors, '70s-style (1 Rue Sabot; 33-1-40-20-43-23; www.lerivegauche.com; women-centric Fridays and Saturdays). In the Marais, lesbian hipsters line the illuminated bar of 3Wthe name stands for "women with women"until the wee hours (8 Rue des Ecouffes; 33-1-48-87-39-26). Accordions, horns, rockabilly, and more are in the mix at Le Tango, which holds Friday and Saturday night balls that start with "couple-dancing"—you'll see a French version of ballroom dancing called "le rock" that's more like swing—and end in merry mayhem (13 Rue au Maire, Third Arr.; 33-1-42-72-17-78; www.boite-a-frissons.fr).