Friday, September 14, 2012


It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Marseille and I was excited to go as my visits before were far too brief, this time though I was going to be there for at least a few days and was looking forward to exploring and learning as much as I could about Marseille and the LGBT community, especially since EuroPride 2013 is taking place in Marseille next July 10th to 20th.

And I love the fact that Marseille is only about two hours by TGV train from Cannes passing through Saint Raphaël, TouIon and while in transit you are able to see the landscapes change from red to white stone with stunning greenery and mountainside along the way.

On arrival to the Saint Charles Train Station in Marseille, the self-explanatory signage made it easy to find my way through to the subway station and to which part of the city I needed to go to in order to find my hotel.

Once off the subway, I found myself in a very hipster outdoor market area named ''Cours Julien' or also kknow as the 'District of the Young People'.  I loved the colorful surroundings right away, and was later to learn that this is where many artists live and that behind many of the apartment buildings were sometimes secret, beautiful gardens.  No wonder my ultra-cool hotel decided to set up shop here.

I’ve heard people remark in the past how Marseille seemed to have a reputation of being a big, dirty and even dodgy city.  I think a city of any size will of course have their issues, and as odd as it sounds, I personally get a thrill out of being in a place where I’m maybe not supposed to be, but yet on this visit to Marseille, I never felt unsafe at all when I would be out with friends or on my own anytime during the day or late at night wondering the streets.

Many of the beautiful boulevards in Marseille are reminiscent of those in Paris, with plenty of green spaces and lined with unique architectural designs, and there is nothing better than walking through the weekly flower, clothing and food markets.

The people that I had met on this visit were helpful, generous and of good heart, willing to point out what makes Marseille the best choice for them in which to live.  The LGBT community is very strong and LGP Marseille are extremely eager to put on the best EuroPride ever.

This trip to Marseille really opened my eyes; it is truly a vibrant melting pot of cultural diversity, so much so that the city has been awarded the European Capital of Culture 2013!


In the next few posts I will tell you more about my experiences in Marseille and I must say, I cannot wait to visit again and especially for EuroPride 2013!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dolly Party

Stepping off the tram with a mass of people also entering Garibaldi Square, you could hear the music pumping a couple of blocks away and see the excited crowds quickly joining the street party in the Place du Pin area of Nice, otherwise also known as “le petit Marais”.

Dolly Party

This was my first Dolly Party (certainly not my last) and only the third time the City of Nice has allowed such a large outdoor street event of this kind.  The Dolly Party concept has been around the French Riviera for some time now, the organizers hold these parties in public areas such as beaches, streets and nightclubs, and they are not to be missed!

The underlying theme for everyone attending this Dolly Party was to wear white, and there was a sea of white as far as you could see.  Heading into the streets filled with thousands of people of every age, weight, gender, and sexual orientation…everyone was making their way to take in a truly amazing Dolly Party experience!

This Dolly Party was presented by the Cote d'Azur LGBT Community Center in Nice, the AGLAE and L' EuroPrideLGP Marseille also made a special trip to help promote EuroPride 2013 by providing information, handing out buttons, stickers and selling t-shirts.  There was also a AIDS awareness vehicle set up so that you could get tested, ask questions and get more general information about safe sex practices.

Various DJ’s were in attendance such as Sebastien Coda, Nicolas Derman, Richard Vegas and Laurent N who certainly kept the crowd dancing all night long.  And as the DJ’s played, on the same stage the multimedia artist Patrick Moya spent the evening doing live paintings!

Most of the restaurants I had seen, such as Gossip Bar, decided for the event to remove all the tables from inside their restaurants to the outdoors to become a part of the Dolly Party atmosphere and at times it wasn’t unusual to see the overflow crowds dancing inside the restaurants since the tables were no longer in the way.  Other business owners, such as Malabar Station Cruising Bar, had closed off the play area inside of their club and opened other doors to sell beer and wine at a very reasonable price out on their terrace.

The participation from the whole of the community was amazing!  You would lose track of time as you made your way through the crowds to see what might be happening from one end of the Dolly Party to the other, I’ve never seen so many smiling faces and it was very easy to meet new people, dance with others and run into old friends.

If you ever get the chance to go to a Dolly Party, do it!  It will be one of the best times you’ve ever had!Most photos courtesy of Jean-Michel Deroc.  Merci!