Correspondents: New Paris Guide
Images in Order: (1) Courtesy of Skopik, (2) by Djampa, (3) by Tim Schapker, (4) by Joseph Alexiou
Story by Bryan Pirolli
Forget your typical Paris travel guide's six-to-eight pages devoted to gay life. Led by gay mayor Bertrand Delanoë, the City of Light has recently approved a new comprehensive LGBT Paris guide, called Skopik, published by Blue Savanah. Following London in its issuing a city-approved guide, this completely free pamphlet just hit the streets and can be found in bars, tourist offices, and the LGBT center. While Paris has long been been gay-friendly, the mayor’s stamp of approval on the cover of this guide is like a lover’s embrace.
Best of all, its completely bilingual.
Most of the rags or guides available in bars are little more than listings of sex bars and saunas, and only in French. Compared to Rue du Marais, the previous "official guide," Skopik has lengthy lists of hotspots arranged by arrondissement—but still has the sexy advertisements, in case you were worried. Additionally each map is loaded with icons for museums, bus stops, shopping, hotels, sex shops, wireless internet access points, tourist offices, health centers, and even cruising spots. There is also a how-to on the Vélib public biking system with rental locations scattered across each map. And every single item, where it isn’t clear, is written in French and English.
Situated right above the list of sex clubs are a list of health and HIV centers for testing and other sexual health issues. If you still haven’t had enough of Paris, there is a section about various parties and festivals of interest for gay visitors. Above all, the guide proves potentially useful for all travelers since it includes phone numbers for practical information like trains, airports, and taxis.
A veritable key to Paris while also unlocking the gay scene, Skopik can be found all over the city, but especially in gay throughout Paris, a certainly within the Marais. Look for the next edition in June during the pride festivities.
Bryan Pirolli is part of Out Traveler's international team of Correspondents, reporting from around the world on items of LGBT travel interest. If you would like to become a Correspondent, e-mail us here after checking out our guidelines.