The rainbow flag flies high in France, a country that left its closet long before many of its European neighbours. Laissez-faire perfectly sums up France's liberal attitude towards homosexuality and people's private lives in general; in part because of a long tradition of public tolerance towards unconventional lifestyles.

  • Paris has been a thriving gay and lesbian centre since the late 1970s, and most major organisations are based there today.
  • Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Toulouse and many other towns also have an active queer scene.
  • Attitudes towards homosexuality tend to be more conservative in the countryside and villages.
  • France's lesbian scene is less public than its gay male counterpart and is centred mainly on women's cafes and bars.
  • Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since May 2013.
  • Gay Pride marches are held in major French cities mid-May to early July.

Publications

  • Damron (www.damron.com) Has published English-language travel guides since the 1960s, including Damron Women's Traveller for lesbians and Damron Men's Travel Guide for gays.
  • Spartacus International Gay Guide (www.spartacusworld.com) A male-only guide to just about every country in the world, with more than 70 pages devoted to France, almost half of which cover Paris. There's a smartphone app too.

Websites

  • Gaipied (www.gayvox.com/guide3) Online travel guide to France, with listings by region, by Gayvox.
  • Gay Travel & Life in France (www.gay-france.net) Insider tips on gay life in France.
  • Tasse de Thé (www.tassedethe.com) A webzine lesbien with lots of useful links.