The creative energy of the clubbing collectives ruling Paris’s nightlife scene has to be seen to be believed; it's fast becoming a European alternative clubbing capital in its own right. And LGBTQ+ voices are particularly strong here, proving that gay life in Paris is about much more than just the Marais. These fabulous, fantastical clubbing collectives and pop-up parties cater for all genres, colours and musical tastes – and they're impossible amounts of fun, too.
Think we've missed a great LGBTQ+ party in Paris? Let us know in the comments box below.
Our favourite Paris LGBTQ+ collectives and pop-up parties
Founded in 2009, Flash Cocotte organises a monthly bacchanal for Paris's LGBTQ community. All are welcome here, but you had better come adorned, embellished and bedizened – costumes and creative dress are strongly encouraged. Come for the buckets of candy, quality techno/deep-house, for the glamourous queens, eccentrics and impersonators, and a Parisian crowd that's (surprise of suprises) open and good-humoured.
Past venues: L'Espace Pierre Cardin, La Machine du Moulin Rouge, YOYO, La Place Léon Blum, La Java, La Cité du Cinéma.
With over 16k likes on Facebook, the original Parisian lesbian collective is at the top of its game. They throw massive multi-level blow-outs like La WET FOR ME (or simply La WET) at La Machine du Moulin Rouge, featuring big names like Peaches, JD Samson and Amplify Dot. Plus there are burlesque performers, projections and information booths for LGBTQ associations and publications. The collective also runs an online magazine/blog.
Past venues: La Machine du Moulin Rouge, Le Cabaret Sauvage, Nüba, Point Ephémère, La Bellevilloise, Social Club etc.
Trou Aux Biches's monthly queer party has taken up residence at La Java, where shirtless folk (women too) dance until the wee hours. The crowd is young and colourfully attired, packed into the Java's basement dancefloor (the line for the toilets is truly miserable, running the length of one wall). With coats and bags piled high on the club's wooden benches, you're sure to spot at least one pretty young thing looking concerned,having lost a phone, jacket or keys in the mess. Help them!
Past venues: La Java
La Gaston is a queer clubbing collective whose stated mission is to bring together Paris's scattered LGBTQ cultures: the lesbians and queers of Beaubourg, the gay boys of the Marais and other 'off-scene' Parisian queers who might not be tempted by Flash Cocotte's decadent costume balls or Barbi(e)turix's lesbian-majority blow-outs.
Past venues: L'OPA, Monseigneur, Club 56, Udo, Le Quai d'Austerlitz.
MENERGY is a monthly 'straight-friendly' men's party at Social Club, organised by Parisian duo BABYBEAR (Yannick) and WONDERBEAR (Oscar). The party takes its name from Patrick Cowley's 1980 song ('The boys in the bedroom / Lovin’ it up / Shootin’ off energy... / Talkin’ about MENERGY') and with its brawny, leather-clad crowd and pounding techno beats, it does feel like a throwback to another era. Entry is free between 10pm and 11pm, and €10 anytime after.
Past venues: Social Club
Like the Flash Cocotte, House of Moda takes its inspiration from New York's 1980s ball scene. Well attended by voguers, drag artists and quirky scenesters alike, the party places its emphasis on originality. Every event is loosely themed around a word or phrase — 'incognito', 'borderline', 'garage', 'sorcery' or 'post-apocalyptic'— which partygoers are invited to interpret through costume. The result is parties that are visually lush and almost overstimulating, complete with locally sourced talent (DJs and live musicians). Don't miss this one.
Past venues: La Java, Café de la Presse...
FukTheName, founded in 2012, is a queer (primarily lesbian) collective that organises parties, events and a Sunday tea dance at Café Tomate. The collective's stated focus is on 'the music' as well as fundraising for LGBTQ associations and projects. FTN was created as an outlet for Paris's marginalised queer communities and although everyone is welcome, the collective caters especially to queer people of colour. Past collaborators include Fol Effet, Playnight, la Kidnapping and My Tiger Is Rich.
Past venues: Café Tomate, Les Disquaires, Acte 3, etc.
Founded in 2011, COCKORICO has been in residence at the Rex Club for three years now, collaborating with other queer organisers at home (Barbi(e)turix) and abroad (London's Horse Meat Disco and Berlin's Cocktail d'Amore) to produce sleek, cabaret-style 'happenings', featuring house and techno DJs as well burlesque and erotic performers. Every year, the COCKORICO team partners with alternative queer festival JERK OFF, organising live hip-hop and rock concerts.
Past venues: Rex Club, Social Club, La Scène Bastille (now Badaboum), Point Ephémère, etc.
Dolly Stud is a digital magazine devoted to France's black lesbian community — billing itself as 'the first French media for Afro-Caribbean lesbians and bisexuals' — although they also organise the immensely popular 'Dolly Stud by Night', inviting iconic DJs and artists from the New York and Chicago scenes (and beyond). DS's last party sold out within a matter of days and although these events cater specifically to Paris's queer of colour community, all are welcome.
Past venues: Jammin Club
La Kidnapping is actually DJ Sophie Morello and friends. Morello organises a queer bust-up at the Quartier Général about once a month, hosting DJs and live artists like Acid Arab, Lebanon Hanover and Yan Wagner. The party has a punky, homemade feel to it: the rowdy (mostly lesbian) crowd packs the QG to the gills, smoking, moshing and crowdsurfing. Most recently, La Kidnapping has been featured at Barbi(e)turix's WET FOR ME and Morello has also started organising larger-scale events like La Bordelika and La Kermess du Kidnap Crew.
Past venues: Le Quartier Général, La Scène Bastille (now Badaboum), Rosa Bonheur, Le 114 etc.
Fils de Venus is a gay-friendly collective that made a name for itself organising the louche 'Trash / Romance', a sleazy, sexy bash most known for its porn projections and international roster of live artists and DJs. The collective has collaborated with Flash Cocotte, OK Jeudi and Barbi(e)turix.
Past venues: Social Club, Nüba, Le Gibus, Batofar, Rivoli59, etc.
Jeudi OK got its start collaborating with bigger names, like Barbi(e)turix and Fils de Venus, organising a series of Thursday-night parties at Social Club. Lately, it's been striking out on its own with its Summer Camp, OK Podium and KINK parties at Wanderlust.
Past venues: Le Gibus, Wanderlust, Social Club
Les Ginettes Armées was the lesbian collective behind Rue Quincampoix's now defunct dance bar the Troisième Lieu. Once Paris's hottest women's spot, the Troisième Lieu shut its doors in 2011 after a very public tax spat. The collective went mobile, organising pop-up parties like Le Bal du Grand Fuck and RADIOGINETTE. At first well attended, these events have declined in popularity, although the collective still organises some lovely quayside afternoon events during summertime.
Past venues: Le Troisième Lieu, Mad Boat & Mad Garden, La Scène Bastille (now Badaboum), La Flèche d'Or, etc.