NEAR LE MARAIS (1E, 2E, 5E, 8E, 10E, 12E)
Once very popular with the happening gay crowd, L'Amazonial presses on with its good location (3, rue St. Opportune, 1e; +33-1-42-33-53-13; fixed price menus: 12 and 23 EUR). Have fun with the music and ambiance (there are occasional drag shows), but expect to eat what you pay for -- in the smack-middle of Paris, food this cheap is exactly that.
Au Rendez-Vous des Camionneurs (72 quai des Orf?vres, 1e; +33-1-43-54-88-74; 15 EUR), meaning "Truckers Pickup," has long been popular, and has come back with some great traditional cuisine. The clientele is mostly gay men in their 30s. The Ile de la Cit? location is pretty, but in the bohemian-bourgeois ambiance you may find yourself thinking snobby thoughts that you wouldn't if you weren't in Paris. The Vagabond (14, rue Ther?se; 1e; +33-1-42-96-27-23; 25+ EUR) draws a good crowd to what may be Paris' oldest gay bar, but the food is also recommended and inexpensive. Don't eat there on a Saturday night -- you'll wait for a table, even with a reservation.
Advertising itself as the "First Hetero-Friendly Coffeeshop in Paris," Stuart Friendly (16 rue Marie Staurt, 2e; +33-1-42-33-24-00; 8-16 EUR) is a super-gay caf? in the hip Montorgueil quarter. This is more of a resting place for a snack than a destination for a full meal (except for brunch when the people-watching alone it is worth waking up for). They have great, fresh soups, salads, tartes, and meat and cheese platters, and you can bring your straight friends along!
In Les Halles up an unassuming stairwell rests Chez Max (47 rue Saint-Honore, 1e; +33-1-45-08-80-13; 15-25 EUR, menus at 15, 22, 30, and 66 EUR). Max is the head pickle here. His ex-clients have been a collection of stars, and he has the photos on the wall to prove it. Somehow the place is always packed.
Aux Trois Petits Cochons (31 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-42-33-39-69; 18-29 EUR) is the mainstay of the little gay niche that is rue Tiquetonne. Whether or not the neighborhood has been gay before the Marais, as we know it, existed, this place offers really good traditional French cuisine at reasonable prices. The candle-lit dining room is small, so reservations are essential.
Another lively gay resto down the street is O'Jilou (29 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-40-26-94-85; 14-18 EUR) an unpretentious and adorable little spot to have a romantic dinner of traditional fare. The waiters are very polite and friendly with the guests, and joke around continuously with each other. There is a small basement room with additional seating that is especially cozy. The two-course lunch with a drink is only 12 EUR, while a three course dinner and drink is only 28 EUR -- quite a bargain for such a hip location.
Across the street, Le Loup Blanc (42, rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-40-13-08-35; 14-16.50 EUR, brunch 20 EUR) serves good, inexpensive food, and is most recently the ultimate brunch destination in Paris. Discuss your Saturday night with friends (or make some new ones!) over an extended brunch (Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). For 20 EUR, brunch includes orange juice, fruit and yogurt, an extensive choice of coffees and teas, an endless supply of toast or breakfast pastries with jam, eggs prepared however you like, and a salad to clean your palate at the end. Reservations are a good idea.
Le Denicheur, (4 rue Tiquetonne, 2e; +33-1-42-21-31-01; 15-25 EUR) was set up as a simple venue with little money and now sports fun kitschy decorations and cute bric-a-brac. The owner is relaxed, the place is friendly, and -- oh yeah -- the food is good too! In the southern part of the Latin Quarter Le Caf? de l'Arbal?te (2 rue de L'Arbalete, 5e; +33-143-31-39-34; 12-20 EUR) has the best terrace on the street. Located off of the high foot-traffic Rue Mouffetard, this caf? has a beautiful interior, although you may prefer to sit outside and watch old Parisian ladies expertly choose their vegetables at the open markets within view of the terrace.
Gay-friendly Restaurant Julien (16, rue du Fauborg St. Denis, 10e; +33-1-47-70-12-06; 24-40 EUR) stays open late and serves the best onion soup in Paris (when it's on the menu). Part of the brasseries Flo chain, the beautiful art deco interior and gorgeous distressed mirrors reflect the perfectly prepared food. Everything is great at this place although the fish and seafood are the cornerstone of the menu. Every restaurant guide has recommended this place, including the scrutinizing and prestigious Gault et Millau.
Another great spot, this one on the left bank, is gay-owned and -staffed Le Petit Prince de Paris (12, rue Lanneau, 5e; +33-1-43-54-77-26; 14-26 EUR). It's much larger than it seems on the outside and can accommodate a boisterous gathering as much as an intimate one. The menu is great: where else must you decide between piglet roasted in wine and honey or a "duck-themed" platter, in which duck is served in every conceivable fashion (foie gras prepared three different ways, accompanied by roasted breast or magret, followed by a duck-gizzard salad and confit de canard, the sinfully delicious poaching of marinated duck thighs in their own fat). In short, you came to France to find this meal. As if life couldn't get any better, the waitstaff is usually tr?s mignon.
Au Diable des Lombards (64, rue des Lombards, 1e; +33-1-40-27-00-87; 15-28 EUR) is a French eatery with American twists. You can get a good hamburger and eggs over easy with your enormous brunch, but they also serve andouillettes and confit de canard. Once a mostly gay institution, the clientele is much more mixed but still very hip (you'll find a bit of everything). Another American touch is a mile-long list of fancy mixed cocktails. It has a great terrace, and its food beats the more famous Joe Allen by a mile.
L'Artishow (3 Cit? Souzy, 11e; +33-1-43-48-56-04; dinner and cabaret: 95 EUR, check online for reduced price offers) is a cabaret and supper club, fun and frivolous. Drag and gender-bending performance art along with dance and song remind us that cabaret is an art form worth preserving. The food is quite good and you will be very thoroughly entertained.
If you really dig Vietnamese food Le dan bau (18 rue des Trois Fr?res, 18e; +33-1-42-62-45-59, 12-18 EUR) offers delicious spring rolls and summer rolls, as well as grapefruit salads, succulent spicy crispy duck, and numerous soups to choose from. In the bohemian and hip quartier of Montmartre, every restaurant is gay friendly. Besides the waiters here are way too fashionable to be straight. Intimate and a little hot in the summer, Le dan bau, whose name refers to the traditional single-stringed instrument, is a perfect Vietnamese getaway.
Le Temps Perdu (54 rue de Seine, 6e; +33-1/46-34-12-08; 6-21 EUR) is a hip venue with a young clientele. The lengthy menu and very reasonable prices will give you a reason to explore areas outside of the Marais. Case in point, Pluri'elle (19 rue Jean Moinon, 10e; +33-1-53-72-42-87; 5-14 EUR) features great prices for food and drinks (try their crepes), is run by a lesbian couple, and is a bit more female-oriented than some of the other gay restaurants on the list; everyone is welcome at this ladies hangout with no snobbisme allowed.
Another lesbian-owned bar/caf? is the O' Kubi Caff? (219, rue Saint Maur, 10e; +33-1-42-01-35-08). This place advertises its location as a quarter that is "an alternative to the Marais." O'Kubi is also open to gay men and straight allies as well. Here you can get plates of charcuterie, cheeses, and salads; just getting drinks here can be relaxing and they are reasonably priced.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five
Paris: Where to Stay
Paris: Where to Play/Meet
Paris: What to See and Do