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Nestled 'twixt Monaco and Cannes, OutUK's Adrian Gillan falls for the Brit- and gay-dominated heart and soul of the French Riviera!

Gazing down from Castle Hill - on the luxury liner- and yacht-bobbing Old Port to the East, and the vast, sun-drenched Baie des Anglais, Promenade and Old Town to the West - it's not hard to understand why - along with Ancient Greeks, Romans, Savoyians, Piedmontese, Russians and hoards of Brits, to name a few - so many lovers and artists have fallen for now-380,000-thronged Nice, France's fifth largest city.

Make a B-line for the wonderful, great-value hop-on-off open-top double-decker Le Grand Tour bus circuit - with full commentary, taking in all the main sites.

Matisse and Chagall, Dufy and Klein: they've all been entranced by the Mediterranean clime, plus amazingly luminous light, on this barmy, be-palmed stretch of the glorious Côte d'Azur. Stroll the Promenade des Anglais, with its Belle Époque and Art Deco casinos and hotels, then meander the Baroque labyrinthine, brightly-shuttered warren of Old Town cafes, churches and markets. Rainbow Flag in front of the Nice Castle
Photo: bensib
For a dose of culture peruse the Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall; climb Castle Hill, for its shady all-round vistas and cooling cascades; dine al fresco around the Old Port; shop around Place Masséna; meditate at the spot where Isadora Duncan died, strangled by her own flowing scarf, caught in the wheels of her oblivious Bugatti; even revel at Nice Carnival, pulling in over a million celebrants, each Feb 'n March.

NICE BY NIGHT

Most of the queer action is found in and around the Old Town and seafront; mainly kicking off from midnight on. Note: 7 euro (just over a fiver) is standard French base-rate for drinks in any bar-club!

You can down a few drinks at swish Le Six, dominated by an amazing multi-coloured chandelier, and offering regular late drag, due East, in the shadow of the Opera House. You can have fun all night long with some great music played by International DJs, and for dancing there are Go-Go Boys and even a late night shower show.

The Glam is a party space that host drag shows and performances with a LGBT friendly mixed clientele. They play a mixture of pop, disco and house and their programme is diverse and varied.

Nice really does have a good selection of nice gay bars and gay-popular hangouts. Red Kafe is certainly amongst them. It's a gay bar, cafe and creperie which serves light meals, snacks, coffee, imported wine and cocktails and best of all it's only a 2-minute walk from the beach and is open much earlier in the day than most gay bars in Nice.

If you want to sit and people watch Le Swing is also a good option. They have regular karaoke and drag queens - Friday for the drag show and Tuesdays for Karaoke. Alternatively, La Cave Wilson is often known as La Cave Aux Folles as it's a gay-friendly bar that allows you to dive back into the cabaret era of the 1930's. They have shows every Sunday evening from well renowned artists.

Le Bar Bitch is very much a concept gay bar in the heart of Old Town Nice. They have a range of cocktails, drinks, coffee and other beverages as well regular theme nights, parties and DJ's. Coco Vin is also LGBT+ friendly with some great cocktails, located in the Rue Droite.

Nestled in the hollow of the old town, the dancing bar Le Klubber is a gay club offering lively after hours entertainment live your weekends to the fullest. It's open Saturdays, Sundays and Monday mornings and offers some summer DJs, go-go dancers and a darkroom. It can be found in the Rue Benoît Bunico.
Nice on the French Riviera - Image from Rawpixel

STEAMED UP

To steam, check out the busy "Men's health complex", Sauna du Château - central and just one road back from the front. It's a mixed gender venue geared towards couples. It does hold some men only evenings and bills itself as being gay-friendly. Les Bains-Douches is more of a gay sauna open 7 days a week and is located on 3 levels with jacuzzi, hammam, sauna, relaxation lounge, cinema room and cabins.

To cruise, minus the steam, make tracks for Eagle which is a hardcore sex club, just back from the Old Port. It's especially for meeting men, the drag and direct sex dates ! It is built around a large central counter where you can refuel you all night in soft drinks, beers, alcohol and above all in guys. If you smoke, you can stay warm in their special room called The Smokehouse.

Le Code bills itself as the most famous sex club in the french rivera. It features dark rooms, private cabins, slings, prison, maze, videos, internet zone and much more. Le Code is open 7 days a week, with themed nights including puppy nights, underwear and naked nights, fisting, open sex, cagouile and smoke parties. There really is something for everyone!

Slightly less hardcore Malabar Station is also a popular gay cruise bar and meeting place in Nice. Malabar Station is like an underground train station dungeon, complete with bar area, dark rooms, cabins and play zone. The bar hosts regular gay-themed events including sports and underwear parties. Morgan Club also features various fetish-themed events in an uninhibited atmosphere. it's another gay cruise bar and sex club in the heart of Nice with well-maintained facilities and all kinds of tools & toys, XX movies, private cabins, mazes, lounge area, go-go dancing and more.

Le Couloir is a small bar located near Place Masséna, the green belt and the old town of Nice is one of the oldest places of identity on the French Riviera and the great south. It's owner also runs the Eagle, the cruising bar on rue Emmanuel Philibert, in the port district, but this is a much more relaxed experience set in some quite stunning interior design.

Club Le7 was once one of Nice's first gay saunas. Club Le7 is now an extensive themed cruise bar, spread over three floors, that welcomes locals and tourists alike. Facilities include a bar, dance floor, original art deco cinema, private cabins, dark room, lockers, steam room and showers. You'll find it located in the city centre within the impressive Nicois building.
To "take airs", by day, try Castel Beach, the easternmost central "plage"; or, by night, try the Old Port harbour wall, towards the red-lit lighthouse. Monsieur: en garde!

GETTING THERE

easyJet flies to Nice from Belfast, Bristol, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Newcastle, with prices from £37.99 one-way (incl. taxes). I stayed at the Hotel Villa la Malouine a delightful, gay-owned &and run villa situated close to the Old Town, mere minutes' walk away from beach and port. Rest under the juicy grapefruit tree or enjoy the sunny terrace, with jaccuzzi! There's also a wide selection of other places to stay at low online rates at our hotel partners Booking.com.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Club Le7 (7 rue Foncet; T: +33 (0)4 93 62 25 02) Website
Coco Vin (3 Rue Droite; T: +33 6 74 51 97 93)
Eagle (18 bis, rue Emmanuel Philibert; T: +33 (0)4 93 26 35 30) Website
Les Bains-Douches (7 Rue Gubernatis; T: +33 4 93 80 28 26; Website
Le Bar Bitch (2 rue Rossetti; T: +33 (0)6 51 22 03 20) facebook
La Cave Wilson (16 Rue Gubernatis; Website
Le Code (4 rue Papon; T: +33 (0)9 81 76 88 00) Website
Le Couloir (1 Rue Alberti; T: +33 4 93 85 43 90; Website
Le Glam (6 Rue Eugène Emanuel; T: +33 4 93 87 29 67; Website
Le Klubber (14 Rue Benoît Bunico; T: +33 6 15 10 96 22)
Le Six (6 Rue Raoul Bosio; T: +33 (0)4 93 62 66 64) Website
Le Swing (10 Rue Defly; T: +33 9 81 09 97 84)
Malabar Station (10 rue Bonaparte; T: +33 (0)9 51 18 53 52) facebook
Morgan Club (3 rue Claudia; T: +33 6 08 77 39 87) Website
Red Kafe (9 rue Halevy; T: +33 (0)7 82 01 98 81) facebook
Sauna du Château (17 rue des Ponchettes; T: +33 (0)4 93 85 73 91) Website

Other useful gay links:
www.gayprovence.org
www.nicegay.fr
www.nicetourisme.com

Revised April 2022.

 

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