Thursday, March 31, 2011

Le Fard

Le Fard is fun, boutique style, 'before' bar that you should really check out if you are visiting Nice.

Since it opened in 2007, Le Fard is where everyone seems to go before heading off to the bigger nightclubs.  At times they will even promote themselves as the “before” place to attend, as will other clubs with their cross-promotions in Nice.

Yet if you’ve ever been there you’ll notice people are enjoying themselves so much they can’t seem to tear away from the place, many people will just stay and make a night of it.  I’ve definitely seen plenty of parties start and end here.

Le Fard is in one of the best spots in Nice.  Directly across from the beach at: 25 Promenade des Anglais.

Making your way down the Promenade des Anglais, you’ll start to hear the music playing and come upon groups of gorgeous men having drinks out front of the establishment, that’s when you’ll know you are at Le Fard.

The inside of Le Fard is certainly not huge but it’s comfortable and colorful, one of the best parts about it though is the crowd and staff are both attitude free.  This is a very easy place to meet new people if you are traveling on your own.

In the heat of the summer, it’s nice to be able to get a drink inside and then relax out front in the courtyard with the other patrons, cooling down with the fresh evening breeze coming in off the sea.  During the winter months, it’s not unusual to find everyone heating up by socializing inside, making it a winning situation anytime of year.

Le Fard is open Monday to Sunday from 6:30pm-2:30am.

Be sure to stop by Le Fard when you are in Nice.

Update: Unfortunately Le Fard is no longer in business.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Coco Beach

The furthest section of Coco Beach in Nice is supposed to be a gay beach, the thing is, the popularity of it seems to change every year.

There will either be a number of gay people clustered together on the rocks sunning themselves (clothing optional) or you will just have more space to yourself.

I still think this gay beach is worth a mention because of the breathtaking location, even if there aren’t other people around at the time.  I do consistently hear though that for the most part, the journey is worth it.

The whole of Coco Beach is absolutely stunning and many tourists don’t seem to know about it since it is away from the center of the city.  It appears to be where those in the neighborhood go as anytime I have been down to the main beach area, it seems everyone knows each other but new people are certainly welcome.

Here, I will explain how to get to the main Coco Beach area and then continue further if you want to the gay section of the beach.  It’s all a gorgeous trip.

Make your way around the port towards Mont Boron, going east and walk along boulevard Franck Pilate past the longstanding La Reserve Restaurant situated on the edge of the sea.

Boulevard Franck Pilate will eventually turn into avenue Jean Lorrain.  You’ll know you are headed in the right direction when you see the exquisite villas on Mont Boron looking out over the sea.

Now you are at the main Coco Beach area, you will see all types of people of various ages swimming at their favorite spots along the beach.  Keep in mind there are very few places that are even remotely sandy, most of this area is rocky with some areas flattened out along the paths for you to relax and sunbathe.

To get to the gay section though, you are going to want to keep walking along avenue Jean Lorrain until you see the Coco Beach Restaurant.  You won’t be able to miss it because of how it too is built over the sea edge and also by the signage.

Step into the entrance of the walkway to the Coco Beach Restaurant and proceed towards it.

It feels a bit odd at first, like you are intruding, but there are paths and stairs that lead you down and around the restaurant so that you can keep making your way to the gay section of Coco Beach.

Just keep following the path, even when you approach other buildings along the way.

It is a bit of a hike, but a beautiful one, past some amazing estates.  I walk fast, so for me it takes about 10-15 minutes to get to the gay beach.

If this is your first time there, it may to difficult to recognize if you have arrived to the actual beach, but usually when you start seeing other men around, you know you are in the right area.

You’ll also know you have arrived when you are facing the peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to the east in the direction of Villefranche sur Mer.

Another option to get to the gay beach is to take the paths leading from the streets above near Palais Maeterlinck.  I haven’t taken those paths yet myself though so I can’t give clear directions yet.  I’m also a bit hesitant coming from that direction with so many luxury estates next to each other that might not be fenced off in such a way that one may actually be trespassing.

With the route I have currently given, it’s such a nice walk with the sun shining, the sea lapping up on to the rocks and the light breeze gently cooling you off.

Explore and enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eagle Nice Cruising Bar

In a quaint part of Nice, close to the port, you’ll come across an unassuming cruising bar by the name of Eagle Nice.

Eagle Nice has been a fixture in the city for a number of years now; I remember it being called “Castro” around the year 2000.  Being in the same location for so long means it has a regular clientele base that frequents the establishment, I’ve also found that clientele base is rather diverse, depending on the event taking place.

It’s all good though, Eagle Nice feels like your hometown, neighborhood bar where everyone is welcome, that is if your favorite locale also has it’s own separate cruising section.
Eagle Nice is not hard to find and there are a number of ways you can get to the bar.

One way to get to Eagle Nice is to take the tram.  If you do take the tram, take it to the Garibaldi stop, walk through Place Garibaldi towards the port, you will approach rue Cassini, stay on that street for about two blocks and then turn right on rue Emmanuel-Philibert for about a block and a half where you will find Eagle Nice at: 18 bis, rue Emmanuel-Philibert.

This is a part of Nice the gay community is affectionately calling “le petit Marais” after the Marais district in Paris.  Many gay businesses are currently popping up here.

Eagle Nice will be easy to spot as it usually has a rainbow flag hanging out front of the peach colored, two-story building, along with the Eagle Nice signage.

Step up to the entrance where you will have to ring the door buzzer, once you are buzzed in there is a tiny area where you sometimes have to pay a small cover but it usually includes a conso (drink).  This could also all depend on what kind of event is taking place though.

Either way, there is always some kind of action going on at Eagle Nice. 

Once inside, you will immediately see the long serving bar on the left and to your right are two wide doorways that lead to the ever-changing cruising section.

I could go into more detail about the place, but it’s very self-explanatory and I do want you to have fun exploring the cruising bar on your own. 

Just keep in mind; those in attendance are of varied age, backgrounds and scenes.  There are all kinds of parties and events constantly taking place at Eagle Nice such as: bear events, underwear parties, leather and even blackout nights, so go with an open mind and expect the unexpected. 

Eagle Nice is open seven nights a week from 9pm-2:30am.

Even on a quieter night in the city, there always seems to be someone you can meet and have a drink with at Eagle Nice.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Connexion Hotel

Looking for a hotel for gay men?  Here it is guys...Connexion Hotel!

This value priced hotel is one great deal to take advantage of if you are looking for a fun place to stay in Nice, sling included if you so desire.  Connexion Hotel is about the size of your average family run hotel, just with a different type of family.

As soon as you first enter the reception area of Connexion Hotel, you'll notice that meticulous efforts have been taken to make you feel very much at home and welcome.

And your hosts of the Connexion Hotel are Didier and Olivier, tw totally sweet and fabulous guys!  They really want you to have the best possible stay and put in their best efforts for guests to have the opportunity to meet each other.  You won't find more hospitable and accommodating hosts.

Connexion Hotel is located at: 65 rue de la Buffa, in a great area of Nice, maybe a quick 15 minute walk (if even) away from the major shops and most of the clubs, it's also approximately 2 blocks away from the beach.  And only 10 minutes by transit to the airport.

Rooms come in a variety of sizes and types, just like men.  Small, Medium or Large.  You also have your choice of getting a standard room or one of their play themed rooms.  Sizes and games are up to you.

Connexion Hotel offers free wi-fi internet, minibar in the room, free cable/satellite, flat screen TV's, showers, etc.  Breakfast is fantastic and included in the price, and also a great way to meet the other guests.  I'm repeating myself but you can tell the owners/hosts do their best to make sure everyone feels warm and welcome as they also hold other weekly receptions (sometimes themed) with drinks.

If you are single or a couple you won't feel out of place at Connexion Hotel.

Photos © Connexion Hotel

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Galeries Lafayette

To start off your shopping experience in Nice, you've got to see Galeries Lafayette.  And lucky for you there are two of them in the city!

Galeries Lafayette 

If you recognize this national chain, you'll know this huge department store has anything you might want and with any budget in mind.  Whether it be a top designer piece or just something you forgot to pack for the trip.

The Nice city center Galeries Lafayette is situated at: 6 avenue Jean M├ędecin, along the tram route, next to Place Massena near the beach.  Believe me, you won't miss seeing Galeries Lafayette in it's landmark location next to the city center square.

Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect to find; the main floor level has jewelry, purses and a large cosmetic area to name a few items.  With other levels above the main floor that have whole areas dedicated to children and women's wear.

Of course I love the men's wear level.  It always seems like I am buying something there since they have such a good variety of items to choose from.  Name a brand, it can be found here, this is a great section to buy something to wear to the clubs or even swimwear for the beach.

The selection of male retail clerks working in the men's department is not too bad either. They are very helpful and also informative as to what is happening around town. 

On the upper levels of this Galeries Lafayette you'll be able to find household goods, luggage and fine china.  Take a moment and enjoy the restaurant overlooking Place Massena.  

This location is open everyday from 9am-8pm and they will now be open Sundays starting March 20, 2011 from 10am-8pm.

If you wanted to see the other Galeries Lafayette location, you'll have to head out towards the airport where right across the river in the St Laurent du Var neighborhood you will see France's 8th largest mall, Cap 3000.

One easy way to get there is to just hop on the train in Nice towards Cannes and two train stations later you will arrive at Saint Laurent du Var station.  Step off the train there, cross the bridge over the train tracks and freeway, continue to walk South and you will soon find Cap 3000.  It's maybe a 5-7 minute walk away.

Cap 3000 

Personally, I find this Galeries Lafayette to have a stronger selection of goods to choose from as opposed to the city center location in Nice.  Here you will find Galeries Lafayette takes up an enormous part of the mall and covers two levels including a large gourmet food area.  Many people I know actually go to this location when the store is having a sale as the discounts are betterThere is also the only Starbucks in all of the Cote d'Azur inside this mall across from Galeries Lafayette on the main mall level.

Don't forget that if you are a non-resident of the European Union you are entitled to claim back the 12% tax that you paid on your purchases within the store, so hang on to your receipts.

While you are here, the rest of this mall has some great shopping too, certainly something for everyone.
Take a leisurely look around.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Le Cercle

Nice has a surprisingly good number of gay, bi-curious and mixed saunas (bathhouses).  I can think of at least four off hand and the first one I am going to mention here, Le Cercle, is a relatively new sauna in the city.

Le Cercle is situated in the northern part of Nice away from the tourist area, it’s more like a residential, suburban section of the city.  I don’t believe this to be a hindrance to the business itself; rather it seems to attract a more curious crowd to the sauna.

Located north of the Gare de Nice (train station), the easiest way to get there is by taking the tram in the direction of Las Planas to Gorbella Station.  Step off the tram at that station stop and walk back south along blvd de Gorbella about two blocks until you are at avenue Cyrille Besset.

Stay on avenue Cyrille Besset but walk to your right until you are at avenue Clement Ader a very short walk away. Head down avenue Clement Ader until you see the entrance to Le Cercle at: 16 avenue Clement Ader.

Walking inside Le Cercle you will know you are in the right place, it feels new, clean and safe.  Now the fun awaits!

Le Cercle is a cozy venue with a decent layout, which seems to make everything quite conducive.  It’s hard to say the exact size of the space but it’s not so large that it’s intimidating.  The staff are warm, friendly and willing to help you with any questions you might have about the facilities.

You can tell some thought was put into the layout of Le Cercle and that they aren’t afraid to change things up from time to time.  The place is certainly flexible enough in its main configuration for that kind of thing, which I’m sure, makes for some interesting events.
The hamman is a decent size; the Jacuzzi is comfortable along with many other areas throughout making it playful and great to cruise.

Since Le Cercle is not strictly a men only sauna though, I would suggest you come down for the Men Only Foam Party on Sundays from 2pm-10pm, which is always a best bet.  They have also started a Gay Naked Party on Tuesdays from 9pm-2am, which is a lot of fun.

Otherwise, if you are into a bi-curious/swinger type of thing, I would refer to their website for when those nights take place.   Hell, I’m curious myself about those nights. 

Play Safe!

Update August 2014: Word is Le Cercle is now more straight/mixed couples than before. The gay foam parties on Sundays are now a thing of the past.