The Top 6 Gay and Lesbian Bars and Clubs in Paris

LGBT Nightlife in the City of Light

Men drinking in a bar
Paris has long hosted a vibrant LGBT culture, and nightlife is no exception. Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Paris has been the home of a culturally vibrant LGBTQ+ scene for decades, and the city's nightlife offerings are no exception. While "strictly" gay and lesbian bars and clubs are now smaller in number, giving way to a large number of queer-owned, friendly establishments that welcome a mixed, hip crowd, there's something to be found for any traveler, whatever your preferred style.

The Marais neighborhood, in the center of Paris on the right bank, remains the hub for gay culture and nights out, but gay-friendly bars and clubs continue to sprout up around the city, keeping the scene vibrant. We've put together a selection of picks for a fabulous night out.

A note on safety for LGBT visitors and couples:

Public displays of affection between LGBT couples are common in Paris than ever before, and the city is traditionally a very queer-friendly one. As such, same-sex couples generally needn't feel on guard. However, as with any major metropolis, it’s a good idea to keep your wits about you, especially at night, in poorly lit areas, and when leaving clubs. While homophobic verbal and physical attacks are rare in Paris, they unfortunately sometimes do happen. See our guide to safety in Paris for LGBT visitors and couples for more information.

1. Rosa Bonheur

Nestled on the peak of the Buttes Chaumont Park in the northeast of Paris, this young and trendy, gay-friendly spot, run by the former owners of the once-popular but now defunct lesbian glam club Pulp, has a massive outdoor terrace that gets packed when the weather turns warm. If you don’t get a seat at the picnic tables, prepare to squish like sardines with your fellow revelers. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can always take a place just outside the bar on the lawn of the park and soak up the good vibes. The crowd is mixed, but tends to attract hipster queer women and their associates.
Location: Parc des Buttes Chaumont - 2 avenue des Cascades, 19th arrondissement
Metro: Botzaris
Tel: + 33 (0)1 42 00 00 45

2. Open café

This hopping bar in the heart of the Marais is a must if you’re coming to Paris. You’ll find it by the huge crowds standing outside the front door and the rainbow-walled interior. Primarily a men’s bar, Open Café offers happy hour specials everyday on beer (3.70 Euros for a pint as this goes to press) from 6-10pm, plus happy-hour champagne (5.90) from 10pm until closing. The outside terrace serves burgers, sandwiches and salads, and is the perfect place to start off your gay soirée.
Location: 17 Rue des Archives, 4th arrondissement
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 26 18
Metro: Hotel de Ville

3. Le So-What!

Trendy and cosmopolitan without being pretentious, Le So-What, also nestled smack in the center of the Marais, is a quasi bar-club that is truly a testament to the area's joie-de-vivre ambiance. While it caters mostly to queer women in the 30-40s range, gay men, bisexual, straight and transgender party-goers are always welcome. With no discrimination at the entrance, nor snooty bouncers, all styles of dress and ages can be found here. In between DJ sets, be sure to try a lime gin fizz cocktail or fresh mint mojito. Clubbing goes until 4am on Friday and Saturday.
Location: 30 rue du Roi de Sicile, 4th arrondissement
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 71 24 59
Metro: St Paul

4. La Mutinerie

Formerly Unity Bar, this feminist space is not only a café/bar, but also a community center for political and cultural action. An evening here can involve anything from hip-hop and punk shows to live storytelling, poetry readings or a lecture series. This spot is open to everyone, and was created for and by Paris’s lesbian, transgender and queer community. A good pick for queers who eschew old-school divisions.
Location: 176-178 rue Saint Martin, 3rd arrondissement
Metro: Rambuteau, Etienne Marcel or Châtelet  

5. Raidd Bar

Most men flock to this mainstay of the Parisian gay scene not for the drinks but for the infamous shower shows. Inside the glass showers set beside the bar, go-go boys blessed by nature lather up while you drool into your cocktail. Themed nights spice things up even further, with Brazilian Wednesdays and Disco Fever Tuesdays. Or, for over 18s, stop by for the Ultimate Shower Show on Thursdays for a lather that lasts all night long. The Raidd Bar caters to a hip, young, international crowd, and you should prepare to sweet talk the bouncer at the entrance to ensure you get in to see the show.
Location: 23 Rue du Temple, 4th arrondissement
Tel: +33 (0) 1 53 01 00 00
Metro: Hotel de Ville

6. Duplex Bar

This friendly spot moves away from the meat-market tendencies of some of the larger gay men's bars in the Marais. The Duplex’s tiny space is a perfect set-up for mixing and mingling, with plenty of chances to actually talk to people. You’ll find people of all ages here and many an Anglophone as well, so no need to master French to enjoy your night out.
Location: 25 Rue Michel le Comte, 3rd arrondissement
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 80 86
Metro: Rambuteau, Etienne Marcel or Châtelet​