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In the Shadow of Parisian Men

Airial view of Candelaria taco bar in the Marais in Paris
View of Candelaria from Adrian's apartment

It’s time to take out your sunglasses and look up at the bright blue Parisian skies. The sun shone so brightly through the windows of the corner café facing the Conciergerie Saturday afternoon that we could watch the gentleman next to us drink his frothy beer just from the shadowed impression his form made on the adjacent wall.

Just a few steps away, while the world was celebrating WOMEN (La Journée de la Femme: The Day of the Woman), the Le Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville (BHV) and Le Marais were celebrating MEN. Even Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë stopped what he was doing Wednesday to inaugurate the new BHV Hommes department store (behind the main store on rue de la Verrerie) during what was a raucous evening popping champagne corks and watching underwear-clad buff bodies gyrate to popular music.

A Nous Paris and BHV Hommes co-published “Urban Repérages,” an advertorial magazine designed to get you in the mood by printing the naked back side of a pretty hot guy juxtaposed next to the front side of his clothed self (evidently by the BHV, of course). Turn the page and you get a glimpse of his naked front side, but unfortunately, leaving too much to our imagination.

Whatever they did to shout louder than the women, worked. The BHV Hommes Saturday afternoon was wall-to-wall men of every size, shape and color. I spotted a hand-full of women among them, but there was more testosterone flowing in its five levels and 4000 square meters of clothing, accessories and services designed just for men than among any army in the world. The café in the courtyard was busy with sun worshippers, every step of the escalators was filled and it was impossible to get near the merchandise for the numbers of shoppers it had attracted on this very warm afternoon.

Of course, it’s Le Marais and right in the heart of “Boys Town,” so no wonder it will be such a huge success. Au Printemps management must be tearing their hair out contemplating how to counteract such accomplishment, since the BHV is one of the Galeries Lafayette group of retail stores (which includes Monoprix, too).

Take note — the heavy male presence beats the “sous sol” of the main store, known for being a “meet market” and if your “gay-dar” is in tune, you’ll be able to spot who among them might be the best candidate for your next love affair.

For more information, visit

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. stop in at La Pierre du Marais to join us at Parler Paris Après Midi. See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.

P.P.S. If you haven’t already signed up for the Parler Parlor 9th Anniversary celebration dinner Saturday night, don’t delay! Scroll down for more details and to reserve, email [email protected]


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