Gay Adventures in Nice 🏳️🌈
The French Riviera is one of the top destinations for LGBTQ+ people worldwide. With many famous and fabulous gay bars, clubs, hotels, and events, you’ll be sure to feel welcome here.
France & LGBTQ+ Rights
France has a long history of LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. In 1791, France became the first country in the world to decriminalize homosexuality, and it has continued to be a leader in the promotion of equal rights for gay people. France has laws in place to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, it allows same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, and so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is illegal.
There is a thriving LGBTQ+ community on the French Riviera, mostly centered around Nice, with a vibrant culture and numerous events and organizations dedicated to supporting and celebrating gay people.
The Gay Scene in Nice, France
Every day of the week, LGBTQ+ travelers have fun choices for gay-friendly outposts, starting with Rue Bonaparte in Vieux Nice. This rainbow-painted street is lined with gay-centric restaurants and cafés, with plenty of outdoor tables to soak up the city’s 300 days of sun a year.
You’ll find gay club Malabar on this strip, and nearby are plenty more gay bars like Le Six, Le Couloir, Glam, and Le Swing, each serving cocktails and occasional drag shows, karaoke, and DJs into the wee hours.
Just beyond the historic center in Carabacel , browse a wide array of LGBTQ+ and feminist books and magazines (in both French and English) at lesbian-owned Librairie Vigna . A block away on Rue Delille , don’t miss tasty rum drinks and unexpected Latin-inspired dining at new queer-owned Hacienda . French speakers will appreciate compact L’Alphabet Theater on the same street, with a LGBTQ+ performances and other live shows.
Because the Nice Côte d’Azur tourism bureau is a global partner of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA), you can dive right into local gay culture with a stop at the Nice Côte d’Azur LGBT Centre . The Centre offers classes, meeting spaces and more for queer locals and visitors, and you can expect to get plenty of hot travel tips from these friendly folks.
The Centre is integral to Irisée Naturellement, Nice’s LGBTQ+ visitor hospitality program that partners with hotels, shops, nightclubs, restaurants, and other businesses. That program supports many big annual events including Lou Queernaval, the queer version of Nice’s grand late-winter Carnival celebration.
Huge, Annual Gay Events
There are several huge gay events and festivals each year, held in Nice. Don’t miss the Pink Parade, the city’s annual mid-summer Pride celebration, as well as the In&Out Nice queer film festival, lesbian programming through Les Culottes, and more cultural events and soirees cropping up throughout the year.
The Pink Parade (Gay Pride)
The Pink Parade is the official Pride parade. Thousands of people flock to the city every summer in all of their gay glory, with tons of drag artists and queer activist groups coming together to celebrate the festivities. Nice has one of the largest gay scenes in France, outside of Paris, and the annual Pink Parade has been a popular, lively celebration of LGBTQ life in the city since 2004.
The parade begins at 4pm at Place Charles de Gaulle in Nice’s Libération district. It will move through the city streets, briefly join the Promenade des Anglais, and end with a celebration at the Théâtre de Verdure. Everyone can join the parade rather than just watch, making it a memorable experience.
After the parade, the fun continues at the “Pink Drink” party at the front of MAMAC , with awesome DJ sets, singers, and dance acts!
Carnival: Lou Queernaval
Imagine is the world’s best carnival had a baby with a gay pride parade, and it turned out more fabulous than you could ever imagine. That’s Lou Queernaval.
As part of the famous Nice Carnival, for one night the carnival gets even more fabulous. The night is called Lou Queernaval — the first and only gay carnival in France. With DJs, musicians, and drag artists performing to large crowds, the streets of Nice are lined with dancing queens, the most fabulous costumes you’ll ever see, and gay couples happily enjoying the glorious festive atmosphere.
Gay Film Festivals
For lovers of film, don’t miss two LGBTQ+ film festivals. These unique festivals open the competition to LGBTQ+ cinema each year and very often offer us true masterpieces.
The In&Out Festival is held for a week each year in April. The films are from both well-known writers, directors, and actors along with innovative beginners, many of which will be in attendance for not only discussions but also question and answer periods.
The ZeFestival is held in October and November and the majority of films do not yet have commercial releases so expect the unexpected; these films will definitely give you plenty to talk about.
Along the famous Promenade des Anglais, there is the miles-long city beach of Nice. A pebble beach, fragmented into various private or paid beach sections (run mostly by hotels, restaurants and beach clubs) and a few free public beaches.
The entire city and all its beaches are welcoming to gay people, but Nice has one specifically gay beach area with a fabulous beach club (Castel beach ) at the far east side of the main beach. There’s also a more private gay beach (Coco beach ) a short walk away, but be aware that unsuspecting tourists also often end up there. If you want more, there are another two gay beaches are just outside of town.
Castel Plage is a chic and elegant beach club, that attracts mixed crowds but is extremely popular amongst gay men, so it is an ideal spot to meet guys in a chic way. It is a restaurant and beach club on a sheltered beach (the last beach club on the far east side of Nice’s long Promenade beach) with a private deck that extends down to the edge of the water. Be prepared to pay for the sun beds (sunbeds with shade umbrellas cost around €20 per person/day), other amenities, food and drinks.
Red Kafé is a gay bar in Nice that serves crepes until late (they’re open from 5pm until 2:30am every day). You can find special events, drag performances and various themes each weekend. If you are visiting Nice and want to meet new people, the Red Kafé is one of the perfect locations to do so. Not only are the staff attentive but they are knowledgeable about what is currently happening in the city scene, and the customers seem to like to chat with others which helps to make new friends. It’s a great place to stop in for a snack on the way to the beach, for dinner and a show, or for a drink or two before heading to the nightclubs.
Coco Vin is a small gay bar in the Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice) is a great place for wine, mojitos and appetizers.
Malabar Station is a bar with a nice outdoor terrace open during the warmer months. It’s a gay bar from 6pm until 10:30pm, then the cruising starts and goes until late (more on that below).
Le Swing is a LGBT bar with drag shows and karaoke nights.
La Cave Wilson is a gay bar with cabaret and drag shows.
Gay Night Clubs
Le Glam is probably the most popular gay club in town, always hopping on the weekends with a nice and varied crowd. Glam is a medium-sized club with a large bar and decent size dance floor featuring cute go-go dancers showing off under rotating glitter balls with the word GLAM projected onto the walls in bright pink. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is one of their popular Bear events taking place, Cabaret or Pop Star events, everyone is welcome and every night is fun. It’s not unusual to see drag queens, twinks, men in leather, lesbians, and bear groups together without attitude. The staff are super friendly and they pack their drinks strong, so if you’re a lightweight you’ll feel the love very quickly!
Le Six is a cozy 2-story Belle Epoque night club in Nice that is a firm favorite with the in-crowd. There is also some great drag-tainment, with fierce performers like Holly White taking to the stage in all their androgynous fabulousness. It opens at 10pm, and usually can be quiet for the first while. But come midnight and the place is popping. It’s open very late so you can have a great time — if you make it in.
L’Oméga is an intimate, yet fierce night out. The flashing, neon lights echo the rave halls from the 1990s. The drinks are delicious, and the bar staff aren’t bad looking either. The drag shows here are super campy and fun. They generally happen on Saturday nights, with resident queens battling it out on stage.
Le Klubber is where you go if you still want to party in the wee hours after going out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. It only opens its doors at 4:30am and closes them at 10am. The club itself is hardcore – it would have to be considering how late it opens! Techno music blares from the speakers, guests strip down to their underwear, whilst others roam around in leather gear. This is a place where you can push boundaries. Also, if you have been out all night, namely at L’Oméga Club or Red Kafé you can get a €5 discount at the entrance of Le Klubber!
The Rainbow Party, which is generally hosted in Le High Club , is a fabulous gay event occasionally thrown to paint the town with glitter. These epic parties are rare, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the RainboWorld Facebook page (and check our events calendar) to know when the next one is happening. You don’t want to miss out, as it’s an incredibly fierce night with LGBTQ DJs, stunning performances, and everyone wearing amazing costumes as they dance the night away.
Malabar Station is a popular cruising bar in Nice, but they also have a nice outdoor terrace open during the warmer months. It’s designed like an underground train station dungeon, complete with bar area, dark rooms, cabins and play zone. The bar hosts regular gay-themed events including underwear parties. It’s located in the gay neighborhood near many other gay bars, shops and restaurants. You’ll generally find a middle aged crowd here starting at 30+.
Morgan Club is a gay cruise bar with small labyrinth, cabins, sling and video room. Theme nights with dresscodes (naked, jockstrap, underwear). Naked dance parties. Cruising mixers. Boxer nights. There is always something happening at the Morgan Club. Everyone here is so friendly. The drinks are fabulous, and the music is a little less intense than some other cruising bars in the city. There are even some sexy go-go dancers that really help liven the place up. With a boutique adjoining the bar that sells an assortment of items, from handcuffs to jockstraps, you won’t have to worry about coming up short-handed here. After you’ve stocked up on some items, the next step is finding a hideout. There are private cabins that you can sneak off into, though some don’t even make it that far. The best part is, no one really cares. It’s all about being free and loving yourself.
Eagle is a gay cruising bar close to the port of Nice, with darkroom, cabins, sling and smoking room. Leather daddies, fetish fiends and bears rejoice! The Eagle celebrates you in all your glory. With pulsing, techno beats bouncing through the walls as you walk in, ripped men standing behind the bar and loads of other dudes dancing around in S&M gear, you’ll be starkly reminded that you aren’t in Kansas anymore. The bar has a “come as you are” mantra. Just have a drink, do some flirting and enjoy the evening. The Eagle Bar isn’t for the fainthearted. So be prepared going in. There are loads of hideaways and glory holes to lose yourself in. Also, labyrinths where you could literally get lost. As always, don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to do. Just be safe and have fun!
Le Code is a fetish-friendly gay cruising club. Black walls lit up in neon red lights line the corridor as you enter. The words LE CODE are shone across the walls. Burly men in tight leather bondage move ferociously across the room. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into a spy film. Throw in all the dark rooms and glory holes, labyrinth and whip cracking, and you’ll feel like you’re in a Bond movie…‘Bondage… James Bondage!’ A night at Le Code is exciting. With themed events like naked parties, you’ll feel totally liberated after spending an evening here. With toys and whipped cream available at the bar, you’ll have all you need to make this visit a truly memorable one. Though don’t be intimidated walking in. Curious cats are just as welcomed as eager beavers – and you won’t be made to feel bad or uncomfortable if you don’t want to indulge in any activity yourself.
Club Le7 is an extensive themed cruise bar, spread over 3 floors, that welcomes locals and tourists. Facilities include a bar, dance floor, original art deco cinema, private cabins, dark room, lockers, steam room, showers. It’s located within an impressive Niçois building in the city center.
Les Bains-Douches is the most popular sauna in the French Riviera. It’s on 3 floors, and while the decoration might be rather plain, the staff are helpful and friendly. Whatever you are into, you will easily find it at Les Bains Douches, and that goes for the diverse clientele of all ages and body types, to the wet sauna, porn, hammam, jacuzzi, etc. You will find the whole sauna is spotlessly clean, comfortable, and very well maintained. The sauna is discreetly located on a very safe, business/residential type of street in central Nice.
Sauna du Chateau has clientele that are particularly buff and sexy. There is also quite a diverse age range, though most guests tend to be slightly older. Picture yourself, in a pool, chatting with some hot tourists and locals whilst knocking back a cocktail or two… This is the fantasy that Sauna du Chateau delivers, with a Finnish sauna, Turkish hammam, swimming pool, jacuzzi, and videos to help you relax.
In the mood for a tasty treat? Then head to a delightful, gay-owned pastry shop, Le Fabrik des Garcons . Each of the delectable and creative pastries at this charming pastry shop is lovingly handmade daily and truly out-of-this-world delicious. Looking for a gourmet French meal? Make a reservation at their chic restaurant, Chez Les Garcons for a meal you won’t soon forget.
Sunset Nice is a gay-owned restaurant and bar is perched right on “Le Prom” overlooking the sea. This charming restaurant is very popular with the gay crowd and serves burgers, pasta, seafood, and Asian-inspired dishes; with an upstairs lounge for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
If you really want to get to the heart of the gay scene in Nice then you will love joining one of the Gaily LGBTQ friendly walking tours. You can actually choose from both a day-time gay friendly walking tour or a night-time tour which visits the best of Nice’s gay bars and clubs! If you’ve never visited Nice before or perhaps feel a little shy heading out on your own, this is a wonderful way to explore and relax with your new gay friends. Whichever one you pick you’ll get to learn about Nice’s gay history with a friendly local guide who knows all the best places for food and drinks.
Outiside of Nice
- Mont Rose Beach near Marseille is the oldest gay beach in France and maybe one of the most popular ones. Both LGBTQ+ residents and travelers, prefer this rocky nudist beach with its beautiful coast and deep sea. Popular cruising spots in amphitheatrical rock placements are ideal for fun times.
- Plage d’Eze-sur-Mer is a gay beach about 20 minutes outside of Nice. This is probably one of the most popular gay nudist beaches on the French Rivera though it’s notoriously difficult to reach. This is a 100% gay beach and mostly nude. Be sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there are no services in this area. It gets particularly busy on the weekends. You can reach the beach by taking the #100 bus that travels towards Monaco. You disembark at “Parking St Laurent d’Eze”, and just follow the signposted trail until you reach the beach. You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see loads of casual, naked men all about the place!
- Le Connexion is a 100% gay men and gay-owned boutique holiday B&B with a heated, clothing-optional swimming pool. Set in beautiful countryside of rivers, olive groves and forest, they can host 16 guests in 5 self-catering apartments and studios, all with a kitchen, private entrance and terrace.