Gay Property Hotspots in France

A guide to popular gay and lesbian areas of France

France - a gay friendly destination

The world is a changing place for gays and lesbians these days, with widespread tolerance, acceptance and even a warm welcome now being the norm in much of France. Not only are there the well known gay areas of Paris (Paris Arrondissements Property Guide) and resorts like Cap d'Agde (Cap d'Agde Property Guide) in the south, but all the major cities have their gay areas, clubs and bars, while all over the country, gite and bed and breakfast owners are actively seeking guests from the gay and lesbian community.

Life is becoming easier

For a long time, French attitudes to homosexuality seemed to be that it was acceptable as long as it wasn't made public (except in the established gay quarters and resorts), but like in many other countries life is becoming easier in many ways. French law now allows same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, while even McDonald's has got in on the trend with a gay advert being shown in France. In 2001, the country saw the election of an openly gay mayor, demonstrating once and for all that France is indeed a gay friendly country.

Attitudes to homosexuality in France

France, like most other central and western European countries, will offer a largely tolerant, frequently welcoming, sometimes curious and occasionally hostile attitude to its gay and lesbian visitors and residents. The places to steer clear of include certain outskirt districts of the big cities, where there are many low income families and immigrants who may come from a background of intolerance. It is fair to say, however, that any holidaymaker is probably best advised to keep away from these areas, whatever their sexuality, with the potential likelihood of mugging, attack or abuse not being limited to homosexuals!

Paris - the gay capital of France

It goes without saying that Paris is the number one gay destination in France, with the Marais area of the capital (found near the Hotel de Ville) being the traditional gay quarter. Here there are dedicated gay and lesbian hotels, bars, clubs, shops, saunas and much more entertainment, some with an almost totally gay clientele and staff.

Paris caters for all

However, for every gay or lesbian holidaymaker or ex-patriot in Paris who enjoys the "scene", there is another who prefers a less flamboyant approach, and Paris caters for them too, with low key gay friendly clubs and groups where you can meet like minded and tolerant individuals. So the visitor to France's capital can find exuberant nightclubs and festivals or simply while away an afternoon playing bridge while enjoying a coffee and a croissant... Gay Paree has something for everyone.

Mediterranean property and the gay and lesbian community

After Paris, the next best known destination in France for the gay and lesbian community is way down south on the Med. Traditionally tolerant resorts such as Cap d'Agde, with its gay and nudist beaches, vibrant attitudes to life and plethora of clubs and bars have long been in existence. St Tropez (Saint Tropez Property Guide) is another famously gay friendly beach resort and one where you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with celebrities and even minor royalty. Two of the south's great cities, Montpellier (Montpellier Property Guide) and Nice (Nice Property Guide) have thriving gay quarters and offer excellent holiday facilities and fun.

Languedoc - the new gay property hotspot

The newest arrival on the scene for gays and lesbians is the Languedoc (Languedoc-Roussillon Property Guide). Montpellier, the Languedoc's capital city, is a fairly recent but avid convert to the cause, and with its massive student population and laid back attitudes to everything, is a fantastic place to visit or to live. Gay Pride is alive and well in Montpellier, with a full programme of events and parades taking place around the end of May or beginning of June each year.

Perfect for those with an eye for quality of life

Montpellier apart, the Languedoc in general is an excellent holiday (or permanent) destination for those who prefer perhaps a quieter lifestyle than is found in Paris or on the Riviera (French Riviera Property - an insider's guide), ands appeals to everyone with an eye for quality of life and a beautiful setting. There is a wonderful history and heritage to discover, a delicious gastronomy and, of course, great local wines.

Best towns in France for gays and lesbians

Most big cities have gay sectors, or at least, a good assortment of gay bars and clubs to offer to visitors or residents. Some are better known for this than others. Lyon (Lyon Property Guide), on the one hand, offers little more than a smattering of gay friendly bars and clubs, while Toulouse (Toulouse Property Guide), on the other, has a well established gay community and a lively social scene. The surf resorts of Biarritz (Biarritz Property Guide) and Hossegor, on the south-west coast are two more to head for, with a vibrant social life and gay scene.

Gites in France - good news for gays and lesbians

The good news is that a lot of gite owners are actively seeking to rent their properties to gay and lesbian couples. The usual lack of children may be a factor, as this means less special facilities required and also less mess and noise, while another is that in this time of recession and austerity, families tend to be the hardest hit and the most likely to drop holidays from their spending agenda. Gay and lesbian couples, on the other hand, often have two incomes and more disposable cash to allow them to continue to spend on travel and leisure. (Owning Gites and Chambres D'Hotes (B&Bs) in France.)

A diverse country welcoming all

France is a diverse country, and no matter what you are seeking in a holiday or longer stay, there will be a place to suit you. Most French have a pretty laid back attitude to life and are accustomed to accepting differences, be it in nationalities, racial types or sexual preferences. Hotels are unlikely to raise an eyebrow if asked for a double room for a same sex couple, and although it is probably true that attitudes in the cities are more progressive than in the depths of the countryside, this is no more or less the case than in any civilised European country. Sun, sea and sand; mountains, snow and skiing; tranquil country vistas or bars, clubs, festivals and saunas, France welcomes you.

Additional articles which may be of interest:

The French Atlantic Coast from Biarritz to Southern Brittany
Gites for sale
Retirement and retiring to France
Holidays in France
Life in France

About the author

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of south-west France in October 2004 having found her property through French Property Links.

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