Countless LGBT Americans will be among the hundreds of thousands of gay men, women and youth descending on the City of Light for Paris’s annual La Marche des Fiertes (Gay Pride parade and festival) on June 28-30. Some estimates even put the annual crowd at 1 million-plus revelers, making the gathering the largest pride event in Europe and one of the biggest in the world.
The parade itself, which begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, is so massive that it takes nearly four hours to wind its way from its starting point in the Left Bank to the Place de la Bastille, where a huge DJ-fueled dance party is held from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. But truth be told, the entire Marais neighborhood — home to most of the city’s LGBT bars, restaurants, and boutiques — hosts a nonstop celebration throughout the weekend.
But what do you do when the pride frenzy ends and you’re still eager to learn more about LGBT life in the City of Light?
Start by checking out these five tourist sites that have deep LGBT connections — connections ignored by virtually every mainstream Paris travel guide. All are free, easily accessible by the city’s uber-efficient Metro system, and sure to surprise you with the prominent roles gay men and lesbians have played — and continue to play — in Paris’s rich history.