So I've lived in Paris since late September, and I thought it was high time I started a blog. Admittedly I spent the first few months trying to be an International Party Chick but once I got over that I got to thinking that I needed a creative outlet that extended further than writing witty comments on people's Facebook statuses. So this is my account of what's cool to do in Paris, what I do in Paris, and what you're meant to do in Paris, from a queer perspective, natch.
Fun facts about Paris:-
a. It's the most expensive city IN THE WORLD.
b. It's the city with the highest rate of anti-depressant usage IN THE WORLD.
c. The Eiffel Tower sparkles for 5 minutes every hour, on the hour in the hours of darkness.
Well last night was a fairly typical evening. We started off in Tribal Café which is in a super-sketchy part of the tenth arrondisement.
Now, I'd never been here before but had heard good things about the free couscous. The beer was "cheap" by Paris standards, a "pint" was 3.50euros. It was Grimbergen. Now, I don't consider myself any sort of expert on Belgian beers but to me it tasted more like Grimm's Fairy Tales. That didn't even make sense but I jsut meant it was shit. The free couscous, however did not disappoint. There was chicken and everything.
Value for money: 9/10
Babe factor: low. Didn't see any babes. Bit of a sausage fest but nothing chronic.
Verdict: would go back soon.
After this we decided to go to Grands Boulevards. Now let me tell you something. This area is like the tackiest fucking place in the world. Imagine the curry mile, only instead of prestige curry houses, they are Wetherspoon'ses. BUT WAIT. Wetherspoon'ses that aren't even cheap. So we went to one place called James Hetfeeld's, but it could have been any bar on that strip cos they're all the fucking same shit different bucket anyway. Full of English people on extended/perpetual gap years (including but not limited to the staff), big screen TVs showing either live footy or highlights of earlier footy games (in the summer months I imagine they delve into the footy archives) and French yuppies. I'd love to delve into a French yuppie but that's not for here. The reason people like these places is thus:
a. They're (relatively) cheap. Well, if you consider 5euros for a pint of Grimm's Fairy Tales cheap then yes I suppose they are!
b. They're free entry. IT'S A FUCKING BAR OF COURSE IT'S FREE ENTRY THERE'S NOTHING TO DO THERE EXCEPT DRINK SHIT BEER, PUSH PEOPLE, SPILL SHIT BEER AND LISTEN TO FUCKED ENGLISH TWATS GUSH ABOUT HOW FABULOUS IT IS TO BE IN PARIS EVEN THOUGH THEY GO HOME EVERY TWO WEEKS TO SEE THEIR TWATTY SIGNIFICANT OTHERS.
c. They're always busy and open very late. The colloquial French phrase to say a place is lively is "ça bouge", which means literally "it moves", which is somewhat ironic seeing as it's normally pretty hard to move anywhere in those places.
Value for money: 5/10
Babe factor: low.
Verdict: will try to avoid in future and throw a gay hissy fit next time someone suggests it or any of its equivalents.
It was then that we and our wallets decided the next port of call needed to be Club Off Licence. We found an Épicerie nearby and spent what felt like an EON deciding which would be the best ripoff alcohol to buy. After what felt like an age we decided upon a TWENTY EURO 70cl bottle of Smirnoff vodka and 2 litres of Coke to wash it down. Being a group of 5 it worked out quite nicely and we found the doorway of a preschool in which to shelter and have our own impromptu version of what the Spanish lovingly term Botellón.
Verdict: Bottle of Smirnoff: 19,90euro; bottle of Coke: 3,80euro, Police car driving past and not giving a shit: Priceless, pet!
Next and final place we went to was a bar/club called Le Truskel, another place I'd heard good stuff about but never actually been. On entering it felt like what I can only describe as being in Leeds circa 2006, pretending to be straight and going to a dive such as The Cockpit. And that's not to say it wasn't enjoyable, only I wasn't quite in the right zone for it. It was also sleazy as fuck, and when you tell a drunk French man that you're gay they just say they don't mind and carry on trying to ram their tongue down your throat, which is hilarious providing you are not the the person being sleazed! Sadly, on this occasion I was. One thing I noticed here about the boys was that a fair few of them had BO (there is really no excuse for that on a Saturday night in Paris!) and most were also scruffy as fuck. Now don't get me wrong, I have spent the best part of the last three years going out on the gay scene in Leeds, where the only people who make any effort to dress up are the posing anorexic gayboys and superfemmes. And no-one likes them, that's why they have faghags. So I can completely understand why someone doesn't feel the need to wear a stupid pair of leather shoes and a cheap polyester shirt just to get into a club, but a crap old t shirt that smells like you've been wearing it for the last 4 days lying on the sofa playing xbox and spilling potnoodle is the other extreme. Anyway whatevs, boys are gross LOL.
On another note, I got talking to this English lady who lives in Paris and was having a night out with her nineteen year old daughter before she goes back to university in Bath. They were pleasant enough, but I lost all interest in talking once they had declared that the girl, whose name escapes me, had refused to apply to any universities north of London.
Atmos: 5/10. Too gross.
Value for money: didn't buy a drink but can safely assume they were extortionate, however, the fact it was pretty much a club AND FREE ENTRY(!!!) made it fairly worthwhile. 6/10.
Babe factor: well it felt like half of Paris was crammed in here so you would definitely expect a few babes, and sure enough there were, I think I even spotted a dyke but sadly that remained unconfirmed. My main problem with these places is that there aren't very many French girls who go to them, just a lot of English girls who all look the same.
Verdict: wouldn't go back in hurry.