Gay France: Romance on the Loire – Passport Magazine

Author: , March 16th, 2018

Gay Paris - Loire River

It’s the late afternoon, and my partner Jason and I are running in circles in the tower of Le Château d’Ussé. We’re desperately trying to see it all before our tour bus pulls away without us. Golden French light flashes through the slit embrasures making it feel like we’re inside a slide projector. Each window reveals glimpses of the Loire River Valley. Out one, we see still-blossoming fields of lavender blanket the ground and the wind blows the purple flora as if it’s the fur of an animal. I shout Jason’s name as he disappears around a corner. Another window frames a lazy creek alongside French manicured gardens.

Twisting and turning, I see Jason’s hand glide against the cool white bricks. Out another, a man is carrying a barrel of wine while his Briard companion follows him into the wine caves. At the end of the corridor, I find Jason leaning against a heavy wooden door.

Pushing him aside, I peer through the glass windows crisscrossed with wrought iron. Inside is a recreation of the famous Sleeping Beauty. Laying in a white dress on a four-post bed, Aurora sleeps under the witch’s spell. Green disco lights fill the room adding a bizarrely creepy effect. Like looking through sunglasses at the sun, the small window behind refracts a blinding light on the window. Looking over her, the prince moves in for that kiss to end the curse.

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport

France Gay Travel Resources

 

Gay Paris: A Great City

Author: , May 6th, 2016

Gay Paris

Gay Paris is of course one of the world’s greatest cities–above all, one of its great cultural cities, with literature and art and architecture and fashion and cuisine and so on and so forth. But I think that Americans easily forget how great a gay city it is as well. They don’t call it “Gay Paris” for nothing!

Among other things, I think few people know that France eliminated its laws against sodomy in 1791, 212 years before the US Supreme court decided Lawrence v. Texas. This is why (or part of why) so many American and English gay people, such as Oscar Wilde or James Baldwin, went to live in Paris in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But Paris generally has an amazing gay tradition, and the list of gay greats who have lived there is endless, including Frenchmen such as Proust, Jean Cocteau, Genet, and Yves Saint Laurent and expats from many lands, such as Diaghilev, Nijinsky, and Cole Porter. It has a particularly fascinating Lesbian history, with Lesbian greats both French, such as Colette, and American, such as Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas.

So…just as is true with New York and London and Berlin, a gay history tour is a great way to visit gay Paris. In fact, gay history is such an important theme in Parisian history that it leads you to and through the main neighborhoods and museums, showing you a fascinating and relatable side of the city that a normal tour or guidebook would simply ignore.

Great Gay Paris Tombs

Gay ParisTwo of the best places for a gay history tour in Paris are the great monumental cemetery, Père Lachaise, and the Louvre Museum. Any guidebook will tell you that Oscar Wilde is buried in Père Lachaise, and many will also mention Gertrude Stein (along of course with many famous straight people, such as Chopin or Edith Piaf). But there are so many more tombs of famous gay and Lesbian people, including Proust and Colette.

One of the things that I find most fascinating is the long history of gay couples buried together or close to each other—starting in the Napoleonic period. The tomb in this picture is an interesting example, or possible example: it contains the remains of two Napoleonic generals, Louis Lemoine and Jean-Pierre Augereau.

Both died relatively late; neither ever married. The inscription says, “here lie two ancient warriors, two friends, death separated them, death reunites them, glory is eternal, and friendship ends.” A couple? Impossible to say, of course—but given the reticence of the past and the suppression of evidence, that is typical of gay history. An interesting mystery, in any case. In the photo, you see one of my gay history walking tours.

Great Gay Paris Art

Gay ParisThe Louvre is also an amazing place to look for gay history. In part, this is because it has such a great Greek and Roman collection—often the gayest part of any museum’s collection. But the Louvre’s ancient collections are particularly gay, from a little bronze plaque representing an initiation ritual (like so many initiation rituals, involving male-male sex) on pre-Classical Crete to a lavish collection of male-male courtship scenes in vase-paintings, to halls full of homoerotic Greek male nudes, to not one but four statues or busts of the Emperor Hadrian’s boyfriend Antinous, whom the Emperor declared a god after his death (suicide?) at the age of 19. There are over 100 ancient representations of Antinous left in the world, and most major museums have one. But four? Only the Louvre.

The Renaissance Italian collection is also particularly homoerotic, including one major homoerotic work by each of those gay superheroes, Michelangelo and Leonardo. Leonardo’s is his surprisingly dishy St. John the Baptist, who appears more like a young pagan god than an ascetic saint and seems to have been modeled on a curly-haired young assistant with whom Leonardo was in love, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, better known by Leonardo’s nickname for him, Salaì (more or less ‘little devil’). Of course the Louvre also contains the Mona Lisa, which many art historians also believe was modeled on Salaì as well.

Michelangelo is represented by what is probably his most homoerotic work, the so-called Dying Slave: a languid and effeminate male nude who seems not to be dying but to be in ecstasy. Michelangelo has drawn here on the tradition of that most homoerotic saint, Saint Sebastian, and possibly also on his feelings about own erotic life, as he refers to himself in one of the sonnets addressed to his great love, Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, as a conquered, chained, and naked prisoner of a knight (with a pun on the name ‘Cavalieri’).

Gay Spartans

And there is much much more. Again, as at the cemetery, the Napoleonic period provides a surprising amount of gay material. For instance, in a vast canvas representing the Spartans in the pass at Thermopylae, just to the side of the naked leader Leonidas, David places a little citation of ancient Greek sexuality, a naked adolescent boy snuggling up to his bearded lover (see featured image). This is just what probably took place in the pass at Thermopylae.

Even among Greeks, the Spartans were famous for their male-male relations, and many Greek writers associated this kind of relationship with courage (on the theory, very different from a modern idea of homosexuality, that no-one would do anything cowardly in front of his male lover). But it is very rare for a modern representation of ancient Greece to represent such a scene explicitly. In fact, I have listened to what French guides say about the painting, and they always say that it is a son with his father—but *no* Greek source says anything about sons and fathers encouraging each other to be courageous in battle, so that is just a modern bowdlerization.

Gay ParisThe Louvre, in short, is one of the greatest gay museums. And there is lots of gay stuff to see elsewhere in Paris too!

To learn more, come on one of Oscar Wilde Tours’ gay Paris tours. We are doing a combined tour of gay history and art (with of course lovely hotels, great food etc.) in Paris and London (which if anything is even gayer!) August 20-28, and we are now offering a $400 discount on remaining seats! Check it out at: http://www.oscarwildetours.com/gay-londongay-paris/ (Either half of the tour can be purchased separately, with a $200 discount)

Paris Gay Travel Resources

22 Reasons We Love Gay Paris

Author: , November 24th, 2015
Gay Paris, France

Photo Credit – Marco Munda

As museums and galleries reopen in Paris after the atrocious terrorist attacks, we’ve been reflecting on what makes the French capital so special. After all, France is the most visited country in the world, with 83.7 million people stopping by in 2014 – and many of them heading straight for the city.

From its charming architecture and its instantly recognizable monuments to its epic cultural centers and buzzing fashion scene – the city’s cultural legacy is unmistakable, and its influence on music, film and literature tremendous. What elsewhere would constitute a tourist trap makes for an unmissable sight in Paris.

Here, we count down just 22 reasons why the City of Light is, quite simply, amazing.

1 The Louvre

This renowned museum is 223 years old; the iconic Louvre Pyramid, pictured above, was designed by Chinese American architect I.M. Pei in 1989. Home to iconic creations such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, some 9 million people visited in 2014, making it the most visited museum in the world.

By Jamie Tabberer – Full Story at Gay Star News

Paris Gay Travel Resources

Gay Friendly, Romantic Paris

Author: , February 3rd, 2011

Arc de Triomphe

Paris is a destination that will always be associated with love and romance, the city glitters with lights on the trees, bridges and even the Eiffel Tower sparkles into light in the evenings every hour. Paris is also home to some of the most internationally recognisable sights in the world and the perfect place to enjoy a loved up city break with a fantastic backdrop.

The gay center of Paris is Le Marais, located in the ultra chic 4th

Eiffel Tower

Arrondissement district; the narrow streets are lined with artisan coffee shops and restaurants next to glamorous boutiques offering up the best of haute couture. The district has over 200 gay friendly bars, clubs, shops, restaurants and hotels and the area is known for its open minded and welcoming atmosphere, gay couples can walk hand in hand and not attract even a glance from other passersby.

For a traditional romantic break in Paris head to the main tourist attractions, sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral provide the perfect backdrop for romantic moonlit walks whilst taking in the iconic views of the famous city. Romantic candlelit restaurants are common place in Paris and a cosy meal with your other half in the Le Marais district offers many to choose from.

If you feel like something a little different, head to the daily markets in Paris and stock up on delicious fresh food, grab some plastic champagne flutes and a bottle and have your very own romantic picnic. For the truly love struck head to the Pont des Artes bridge, where lovers for decades have attached a padlock to the railings with their initials on. Not favoured by the authorities periodically the padlocks are taken down, you could even make a pact to come back again to see if yours had stood the test of time, the perfect excuse for another romantic break!

Eiffel TowerIf your idea of a romantic break is more on the adventurous side, Paris has a wild gay club scene, Le Queen Nightclub is a gay institution in the city and it isn’t for the faint hearted, avoid if you’re more of a wall flower as the flamboyant fight for attention here and get it! If you aren’t the shy type however you’re sure to have a good time here. If pretentious fashion filled venues aren’t your idea of a fun night out had to L’Insolite, a fun nightclub that shows disco is still extremely popular.

However you choose to spend your romantic break in Paris, you are sure to have a fantastic time in this historical, effortlessly fashionable and beautiful city.

This post has been written by travel blogger Charlotte McCulloch of Simonseeks.com; a travel website offering everything from expert reviews on Paris hotels to hotels in New York.