Lyon’s LGBTQIA+ Film Festival
If you want to visit the French capital of gastronomy (another wonderful reason to spend some time in this city) in the pique of a queer social event, stop by just before spring arrives.
Each year during a 10-day span at the beginning of March, Lyon holds the Écrans Mixtes, a cinema festival presenting “courts métrages” (short films), “longues métrages” (long films), expositions, and concerts. Each piece presented includes a theme relating to gender, homosexuality, and/or queerness.
Recognized as one of France’s finest LGBTQIA+ film festivals, the Écrans Mixtes attracts nearly 10,000 people.
This artistic extravaganza even concludes with an Oscar-style awards ceremony, naming the best films in each category. This “fête de film” is a great way to become involved in the city and see its pulsing LGBTQIA+ presence up close.
Where to Meet Lyon’s Queer Community
If on the hunt for a more permanent presence in the city, pay a visit to the LGBTQIA+ Center of Lyon.
This is a community center that organizes queer activities and provides resources to all who identify with this community.
It is a perfect organization to become a part of if you are in Lyon for a more indefinite stay.
They also promote themselves in the fight against queer hate and violence in Lyon, France, and the world. To find more information, the center has a website with an open calendar and a list of events by the day – to which everyone is welcome, no membership required.
They even have English-speaking employees and volunteers if you are not yet proficient in French!
Lyon’s Quaint Queer Corner
Another fixed establishment in Lyon, providing economic exchange and a sense of community, is Librairie à Soi(e).
For those who desire immersion in a more quiet corner of queer Lyon, this warm and welcoming woman owned and operated bookshop is a business specializing in selling products only written by women or queer persons.
Sections throughout the store categorize books ranging throughout all LGBTQIA+ topics, both fiction and non-fiction, with an emphasis on feminist works. The shop also has a children’s section with books encouraging young people to explore their own gender and sexuality.
There is even an English section for visitors to which that will appeal! Something else that you will not find in another bookstore in Lyon is the ceramic anatomy paraphernalia, such as jewelry, games, and cards sold at the check-out counter.
This librairie is the perfect spot to stop in for some much needed local queer/feminist absorption.
Unearthing Lyon’s LGBTQIA+ Nightlife
To discover a livelier queer scene in the city, spend an evening in one of the infamous gay bars or clubs of Lyon.
The Presqu’île, the section of the city between La Saône and Le Rhône rivers, is where the bulk of the city’s queer population is found, especially between Place des Terreaux and Cordeliers.
This area is home to a such a diverse number of queer bars and clubs that anyone should be able to find the kind of night out they are looking for.
To begin on the more tranquil end of the spectrum, pay a visit to “La Ruche”. This is Lyon’s oldest and most famous gay bar with a nice outdoor terrace for warmer days or evenings. Hosting mostly male clients, this bar is open every evening until 1 AM.
Along the same lines you will find “L’Étoile Opéra”, a well-known restobar that holds large queer events for gay pride. Hosting patrons of every kind, this establishment is also open every evening until 1 AM.
If you’re looking for a queer bar with a view, stop by “La Chapelle Café”.
This café is the perfect place to have a lowkey cocktail in a large outdoor seating area with views of the Fourvière Hill, one of the best views in the city. Attracting crowds typically in their 20s and 30s, the café holds student themed nights and Latin rainbow nights!
To accommodate to this younger crowd, they are open every evening until around 3 AM.
If you’re looking for an evening a bit more on the rowdy side, spend the night at the “It Bar”. This bar specializes in 80s hits and always has a crowd full of a mix of people.
They are only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 AM until 4 AM.
To experience an even wilder night, look into the “Garcon Sauvage”. They hold an outlandish, colorful, queer event each month. Characterized by drag, glitter, pop/disco music, and more, you can find the details of their next party on their Facebook page.
Perhaps you will be in town during their next event!
No matter what kind of queer environment you’re looking for, you can find it in Lyon. Despite the remaining prejudices of today, this city provides a welcoming, thriving milieu for everyone in the queer community.