Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau is an IGLTA Featured Destination.

By Bill Malcolm*

Winter is the perfect time to visit Paris. The crowds are gone. The weather is not as cold as many other winter destinations. And, since you will be spending a lot of time in museums, it does not matter anyway. Plus, Paris has a great gay scene and a gayborhood (the Marais).

Getting There

I snagged a great low fare on Delta Air Lines. The service was exceptional—and everything was free. Free hot dinner and breakfast, free headsets, free blankets and pillows, free eyeshades, and more.  

Once in Paris, hop on the commuter rail to town, the RER-B, then take the Metro to get to your hotel from the Gare du Nord Station.

Where to Stay

I stayed at The Moxy, a new Marriott brand geared for millennials. The rate was very reasonable (it varied by day with one day at just 93 euros or around US$110). It is located near the Marais in the Bastille District and near no less than 3 Metro stations. You can walk to many of the major attractions or hop on the subway. Two nearby stores (Franprix) have everything you need including salad bars, hot sandwiches and a great selection of wine.


The bars are mostly in the Marias. Bears will of course like the Bears’ Den. The Open Café serves food and is a lot of fun. Sly Bar has a great happy hour and karaoke on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Raidd bar has a shower show. You can dance the night away at Le Depot.

Your Paris Winter Getaway

Photo credit: Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

What to do

The first day I walked around the historic Marais District. Like many gayborhoods, it has been gentrified and is now full of high-end stores as well.

The second day, visit the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, walk along the Seine River, and explore the shops of the Champs-Elysees. Then visit the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at The Louvre.

The third day explore the Natural History Museums, the zoo (Le Zoo du Jardin des Plantes), the Indoor Tropical Gardens, the Botanical Gardens, and then walk back to the hotel. There is also a farmer’s market on Sundays in the Bastille District where you can find local delicacies including pig’s feet, French cheeses, paella, and every kind of pastry and bread you could want.

I liked the new Liberation Museum (Musee de la Liberation de Paris), which chronicles the German occupation of France.

Day four, go to visit Montmartre and the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Great views of Paris. Be sure and visit the Montmartre Museum as well and the associated Renoir Gardens.

Your Paris Winter Getaway

Photo credit: Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where to eat

Grab coffee at Alma Coffee. Don’t ask for milk or cream in your coffee. The French don’t use it and don’t drink it (although they eat a lot of cheese). 

Ma Bourgogne has great steak and fries (in the Marais).

Travel Tips

  • Many of the museums are free the first Sunday of the month in the winter.
  • Tips are included at restaurants.
  • Buy a 10-ticket pack of Metro tickets and save.
  • If you don’t have a European carrier or SIM card, put your phone in airplane mode. Shut off all data for all your apps too. Otherwise you will face roaming charges from French carriers that can be quite high. Most places have free internet so you can stay connected that way.
  • Most locals speak some English but try to learn some French to start the conversation.

More information and travel ideas

Paris has a number of LGBTQ+ publications all of which have city gay guides. Qweek has a lot of ideas especially for nightlife ( along with maps of the neighborhoods. Strobo Magazine has a great map of the nightlife ( Tribu is another great publication also with a map. has travel tips as well and you can visit them at the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) in the Marais.

You can’t beat a winter visit to gay Paree.

Your Paris Winter Getaway

Photo credit: Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

*Bill Malcolm is the nation’s only syndicated LGBTQ value travel columnist. He resides in Indianapolis and his column is or has been run by LGBTQ publications in Indianapolis, Chicago, Tampa-Orlando, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Detroit, Washington, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Palm Springs and also found on the IGLTA travel blog. He received no compensation of any kind from any of the places visited (nor airlines nor hotels). His opinions are his own.

Featured image credit: @world_mappers