Les Mots ? la Bouche (6, rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4e; +33-1-42-78-88-30) should be your first stop so you can pick up the local free literature on gay goings-on. It also has a wide selection of gay-themed books, similar to the Different Light chain in the U.S. Another gay bookstore is Blue Book Paris (61, rue Quincampoix, 4e; +33-1-48-87-03-04), where you can get a caf? while you browse. Looking for vintage postcards, posters and photographs? You'll find them at A l'Image du Grenier sur l'Eau (45, rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 4e; +33-1/42-71-02-31).
Nickel (48, rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 4e; +33-1-42-77-41-10) is a men-only salon offering a full line of hair and skin care products for the modern gay man -- Lendemain de F?te ("the day after the party") was created to revive the skin after partying all night. The salon also offers haircuts and treatments, hot shaves, facials, waxing and massage. Such delights are also on offer in authentic submarine surroundings, complete with decompression chambers and portholes, at Institut Nickel (Au Printemps de l'Homme, 64 blvd Haussmann, 9e; +33-1-42-82-64-75).
A package of high-quality spices from gay-owned L'?picerie de Bruno (30 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-53-40-87-33) would be a great souvenir (making omelets with herbes de Provence is divine). You will probably also have fun shopping for presents at Gavilane (39 rue Vieille du Temple, 4e,+33-1-48-87-32-93), a chain of boutiques that sell fun, "mystic" costume jewelry. Or perhaps you will have fun because the salesman is gorgeously sexy. Either way, it's a nice gift to bring home!
For a unique gift you could visit Kokon To Zai (48 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-42-34-13-16) because you've never seen anything quite like it. A collection of clothing and wacko accessories in the most insane color schemes ever put together by style, dance music and club gurus. Along with cutting-edge local designers, pieces by Vivienne Westwood and Bernhard Willhelm can be found, and bigwigs like Bjork have supposedly been seen shopping there.
For perfume and makeup, Catherine (5, rue Castiglione, 1er; +33-1-42-61-02-89) is a tiny shop with big discounts on all brands. Lesbian-owned L'Artisan Parfumeur (32 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 4e; +33-1-48-04-55-66) stocks delectable fragrances and candles. But the most striking store for scents is Boutique Etat Libre d'Orange (69 rue des Archives, 3e; +33-1-42-78-30-09). Mainly a boutique of colognes and scented candles by Tom of Finland, the store is more of an art presentation decorated in stark black and white with framed shelves topped off by a striking irregular magenta carpet on one side. Coffee-table art books and many graphic novels containing Tom of Finland's beefcake-inspired male drawings fill the shelves.
SpaceHair (10, rue Rambuteau, 3e; +33-1/48-87-28-51) is a the hip gay hair-cutting establishment, filled with loud music, attitude, and twentysomethings. Spacehair Classic (same address) offers more conservative cuts. Another sexy venue for coiffage is Toni & Guy (18 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-40-41-11-00), in the little mini gayborhood outside the Marais.
For gay fashions in the Marais, the MenStore (8 square Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie; +33-1-44-34-51-51) sells underwear and fitness accessories. Shirtology (5, rue de la Portefoin, 3e; +33-1/42-86-98-28) sells all kinds of trendy T-shirts. Boy's Bazaar (5, rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4e; +33-1-44-61-08-69) sells the usual gay-oriented clothing. Stylish L'Habilleur (44, rue de Poitou, 3e; +33-1-48-87-77-12) won't disappoint in high quality labels without such biting prices. Sweetman (17 blvd Raspail, 7e; +33-1-34-29-54-86), although not in the Marais, stocks outrageous well-made underwear in every color and style. For clothing that's super expensive but at the height of fashion (think black, white, and lots of sequins), check out Tsutsu (70 rue Vieille du Temple, 3e; +33-1-42-71-16-02).
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
Paris: Where to Stay
Paris: Where to Eat
Paris: Where to Meet/Play