Tuesday, May 31, 2011

G.I. Sex Shop

I'm going to confess something here.
I've actually only been inside the G.I. Sex Shop about twice in all of my time in Nice so the information I'm going to provide will be very limited.

G.I. Sex Shop is located on the edge of Vieux Nice along the tram line.  It's within walking distance of Place Masséna but if you happen to be on the tram, step off at the Opera-Vieille Ville Station.  The G.I. Sex Shop is literally right across from the tram station at: 8 Descente Crotti, you won't be able to miss the signage.

The G.I. Sex Shop consists of four floors.  I have only been on two of them myself.  Upon entering you will notice that it has the obvious feel of a porn shop.  They have DVDs, sex toys and poppers of all kinds for sale.  The place feels clean, even compact in areas and has a strong mixture of gay, straight and bisexual male clientele.

There are private porn booths available.  Some of the porn playing appears to be not so up-to-date but I have seen some booths that seem to be playing more recent porn as well.  Cost of admittance to roam around the maze-like area in the lower level (and other areas I assume) was only 6 euros. 

The lower level, with its maze and hook up areas is definitely where most of the action seems to take place.  Its dark, and the guys aren't that shy about getting something going.  For the most part, men seemed to keep most of their clothes on, but on my two visits, there was the occasional nude man or two cruising around.  Not surprisingly, they were also the ones getting the most attention.

I understand G.I. Sex Shop is busiest during the afternoons, but gets quieter in the evenings.  It does attract quite a varied clientele, with a diverse range of age and tastes.

Play Safe!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

LGBT Community Center

One of the many things I love about Nice, besides the city in general, is how much the LGBT community truly looks out for one another.  

I have never been in a city where LGBT people and their businesses give each other such mutual credit, guidance, respect and support in any way they can.

LGBT Community Center
So it makes me very happy to let you know that the new LGBT Community Center for the Cote d'Azur is having it's official inaugural opening on Monday, May 16, 2011!

I'm sure the community center was no easy task to bring together, but they should be very proud of this accomplishment and for what it holds for the future of the community!

The LGBT Community Center’s mandate is very straightforward:

- Conduct itself as a local identity open to everyone.

- Be a House of Associations for member associations such as the AGLAE.

- Provide a warm welcome, information, guidance and support of the public.

- Take action to prevent STIs, the fight against AIDS, and to support people living with HIV/AIDS.

- Fight for equal rights.

- Fight against homophobia.

From what I understand, they will also provide information on civil and legal actions, host seminars, and provide other information on various events happening in and around the city of Nice and the whole of the French Riviera.

The inauguration of the LGBT Community Center will start at 7pm, Monday, May 16, 2011 and will be attended by the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, along with various local performers and artists.

You will find the LGBT Community Center is located close to the tramline.
If you are taking the tram, step off at Garibaldi Station, walk in the opposite direction from Place Garibaldi but stay on avenue de la Republique for about 3 blocks until you see rue de Roquebilliere on your right.  Turn on to that street itself, and a few steps later you will arrive at: 123 rue de Roquebilliere, on your right hand side.

At the moment, the LGBT Community Center will be open to the public on Wednesdays from 5pm-8pm and Saturdays from 2pm-8pm.
The phone numbers to call the Center are: +33 06 69 98 80 80 and +33 09 81 93 14 82.

Members of the LGBT Community Center are currently looking for more volunteers to help provide various support needs within the facility, be seminar hosts, etc.  The community and volunteers should be applauded for all their hard work and efforts.

Photos © François Morey

UPDATE May 17, 2011

From everything I have been hearing, things went very well Monday evening for the official inauguration of the new LGBT Community Center.
There were upwards of 300 people in attendance and everyone had a great time!


Update December 1, 2011

I realize this update should have been done far earlier but I just wanted to add that I was finally able to make my first visit to the new LGBT Community Center this past September 2011.

One afternoon before going to the beach I thought I would stop in, not sure what to expect but hoping I could get some information and perhaps a tour of the center.

Walking into the center I was greeted by two very charming and welcoming volunteers who were chatting and having coffee.  One of them even brought some home made cookies for themselves and whoever happened to stop in that day.
They were full of smiles and very enthusiastic to show me the new community center and tell me more about themselves.  We all seemed to hit it off, I had arrived thinking I would be there maybe 10-15 minutes; I ended up being there for easily an hour.

The LGBT Community Center is set up perfectly!  There are a couple of lounging areas, a corner with a small kitchen, and a public computer area.

They had lots of informative brochures and maps, not only about the nightclubs and tourist things to do in the city, but also about AIDS prevention, housing information and agendas for various LGBT meetings that are held at the center, along with various associations one could join.

They were also in the process of setting up some office space and they even had a small boardroom with a painting on the wall done by the artist, Patrick Moya.

I was very impressed and so happy this is part of the French Riviera!

I seriously suggest that if this is your first time in Nice, make this one of your first visits in the city.  There is so much information to be found at the LGTB Community Center, it will certainly help guide you towards a better trip and I’m sure you won’t meet a friendlier bunch of people.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Smarties Bar

Smarties Bar in central Nice is one of those lounge type bars where you can arrive and hang out with friends on the spur of the moment and enjoy your evening.

 Smarties Bar

Having opened in Nice just over two years ago, this neighborhood lounge bar is just far enough away from the tourist track to where you feel you are truly amongst the locals in the community.

Getting to Smarties Bar is easy.  Take the tram to Place Garibaldi and get off at Garibaldi Station.  From there, walk back into the square but go right to continue past the Monoprix.

Once out of the square, cross avenue Saint-Sébastien and continue down the street past the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) where you will approach avenue Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

Cross that avenue and you are now on rue Defly.  Walk about half a block and you will see Smarties Bar at: 10 rue Defly.

Approaching Smarties Bar, and depending on the season, they might have their sidewalk terrace set up.  In the evenings the crowd from inside the bar easily slips out on to the street to continue to mingle about.

Walking into Smarties Bar, you’ll notice the décor is very funky, like a retro/deco 70’s lounge, with just a touch of disco added to it, yet with a modern twist.

The place isn’t huge, I would say it holds about 75 people but I don’t think a true lounge should be massive when it’s set up properly and the size certainly doesn’t seem to be hurting business.

Here you can feel free to get a drink from the bar to your right, with general seating either at the bar itself or around the lounge.  If you walk further back and step down a few stairs, this will lead you into another area with sofas and other seating perfect for having a drink while conversing with friends.

The music is the big draw here too, the owners always seem to find the right DJ for the mix, the music isn’t overpowering to the scene, and actually it’s just the perfect ambiance to set the tone throughout the evening.  You’ll hear everything from deep house, chill lounge, and techno to electro.

And the Smarties Bar staff are the best.  They are quick, courteous and very interested in meeting people that have just come to Smarties Bar for the first time.

Smarties Bar is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm-12:30am.


0 Rue Défly - 06000 Nice
10 Rue Défly - 06000 Nice

Photos © Smarties Bar

Friday, May 6, 2011

RenDezVous Underwear

One always needs new underwear right?  How about a new swimsuit, or a cool, tight t-shirt to show off your muscles later that night at the clubs?

Well I've come across a boutique in Vieux Nice by the name of RenDezVous Underwear that sells all that and more.

RenDezVous Underwear

For someone like myself who is more than a little obsessed with underwear, and the men that wear them, I'm glad I have found this place.

I wasn't happy with what I currently had to wear to the beaches and one afternoon when I was walking through Vieux Nice I came across RenDezVous Underwear and saw that they not only sold a wide range of underwear, but also swimsuits, beach sandals, tank tops, shoulder bags and even jewelry.
Needless to say, I was more than happy to indulge.

Looking through the large variety of items, I was able to find a swimsuit that interested me; I tried it on and knew immediately I had made the right selection.  What I liked about the range of swimsuits too was that I was buying a quality made garment.

Virtual View of RenDezVous Underwear

This is not the kind of place where you would find something ill fitting that one can purchase from just any tourist type shop.  RenDezVous Underwear is not one of those places.

You can tell that knowledge of product and care have been taken into account in selecting which brands RenDezVous Underwear would carry.  It's clear the boutique's owner has chosen high quality products with the clientele kept in mind.

Next for me, after choosing the right swimsuit, was the underwear.  Now although this is where I can get a little crazy and want a bit of everything, I was able to somehow contain myself to just a couple of pieces.

I saw every style of underwear you can imagine: jock, string, boxer, and brief, you name it and in every color and name brand such as: Diesel, XTG, Pull-In, Emporio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, UDY and Bikkembergs, amongst others.

What I also really liked, were the prices!  Much of what is in RenDezVous Underwear could be bought for either the same price I would pay in North America or for a lot less.  And the selection was the same, if not better from what I've seen when I go shopping in comparable local and competitive boutiques.

To get to RenDezVous Underwear, stay within Vieux Nice.  You can continue to explore the labyrinth of narrow streets amongst the restaurants and shops and I'm sure you will easily come across it just as I did.  You could also get there by looking for landmarks such as the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate at: 3 Place Rossetti.

The cathedral stands out in the square not far north of Cours Saleya.  When you find it, stay on the side of the steeple and walk not even the full length of the cathedral until you see rue Colonna d'lstria to your right, almost immediately you will see RenDezVous Underwear at: 3 rue Francis Gallo.

RenDezVous Underwear has been open since August of 2005.  The owner Philippe, is a very friendly, and well-known individual in the LGBT community.  He lets you enjoy your shopping experience and won't try and sell you something that may not suit your body type.

The boutique is open seven days a week, including holidays, from 10:30am-7:30pm.

Enjoy some of RenDezVous Underwear's swimwear and underwear shows from over the past few years.