Lyon, France’s most gay-friendly city
Before booking a holiday or even planning a move, many people consider whether a country or city is LGBTQ+-friendly or not. Many criteria obviously need to be taken into account to produce a ranking, whether it’s the legal framework, public freedoms, security, or the range of shops, activities and accommodation on offer. The abbreviation ‘LGBTQI+’ stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual". It emerged from a collective movement to fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a study carried out in June 2022, the website Mister Travel ranked Lyon as the most welcoming city for the gay community in France, just ahead of Paris! The study took into account the accommodation offering and prices, bars and accessibility (trains and buses). For a long time, Lyon has been an attractive destination for the gay community with a wide range of shops, leisure and services.
A bit of history
Lyon has nurtured a firm friendship with the gay community that goes back a long way! Historically, friendly addresses have mostly been in the 1st district of Lyon and on the slopes of Croix-Rousse hill (known as ‘Les Pentes’). As early as the 1980s, Lyon was the proud home of several gay nightlife venues, like the Epi Bar, the Broadway, L’Oncle Charlie or the Milord. Later, in the 1990s, the clubbing scene really flourished, with the opening of many clubs like La Centrale, La Petite Taverne, the Triangle Palace and the legendary techno club Factory, known throughout France for its extravagant creatures and avant-garde playlist. A few bars and restaurants also opened during this period, such as Les Garçons, La Gargotte, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort… Le Bar du Centre (or BDC) welcomed trendy students during the day, who would then move on to La Ruche for early evening drinks.
The 2000s and 2010s saw the emergence of new places focussed on specific genders or affinities: the younger crowd gravitated towards the Étoile Opéra and Le Cap Opéra, while the mature moustachioed crowd would gather at places like Le Forum, Le XL and La Station B. La Chapelle and L’Ambassade, on the other hand, attracted a more “jet-set clubbing” clientele. Kinky places also flourished, as did places for women, such as the club Le Marais, which was the place to be for many young women.
We’ve decided to share with you our current favourite places in three categories: shopping, going out, and culture & sport. We hope you’ll like them. This is not an exhaustive list of course… Anyway, let’s get started!