Jan 23, 2015

A Beefcake Tour of France

After being surrounded with the best art in the world for a pitiably short number of days or weeks or months, no one will blame you for choosing more weeks in Paris over Dijon or Strasbourg. But if you need a break from the sensory overload, here's a week-long drive into the countryside.  Don't be surprised if you run into more artistic treasures.

And cute guys.

Day 1: From Paris, head west on A11 to Chartres (1 hour).  See the famous Cathedral, then go on to LeMans (1 1/2 hours) (stop to visit the famous Cathedral).

Stop at the Place des Jacobins, to see the Quinconces Park and the Cultural Center, and this monument to a nude Wilbur Wright.

Not a lot of gay life, but there are a few bars.

Day 2: West on the E50 for about two hours to Rennes. the heart of eastern Brittany (though only about 2% of the population speaks Breton).  See the Musee de Bretagne, and then stop at Parc du Thabor, which has some nice views, and some nude statues, including Faune a la Flute.

In the evening, try the Sauna California on the rue de Leon, but be careful: on some nights, it's mixed male-female.

Day 3:  I would spend a lot more time exploring Brittany and the Breton language, but if you're not a language buff, you might want to go south on the D775 and then east on the E50 to Tours (2 1/2 hours).  The most interesting sights are the Chateau de Tours, the Basilica de St. Martin, and the Botanical Gardens.  There are several gay bars within walking distance of the Basilica.

Day 4: It's an hour and a half drive to Bourges, and the Cathedral St. Etienne, and then another three hours on to Dijon.  You'll have just enough time to go to the Place Francois Rude, with this nude statue in its center, for dinner.  Then spend the evening at Le Bossuet Sauna, near the Cathedral.

Day 5:  Check out this beefy, nude male (hugging a nude female) on Beune Street, then drive two hours east on the A36 to Mulhouse, an old Rheinish city near the German border.

More after the break.

Walk around the Old City and Tivoli Square, which is known for the Schweisdissi, a muscular, semi-nude worker resting against an imaginary wall.

Follow the Rhine on A35 for an hour to Strasbourg in Alsace.  Many people speak German, and some still speak Alsatian.  You'll want to visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, then take in the substantial gay nightlife.

Day 6: The Gutenberg Statue, oddly, shows African natives being released from servitude by noble Europeans.  I'm not sure what this has to do with Gutenberg.

There's also a nearly-nude mannerist Hercules fighting a lion in the Parc de l'Orangerie.

Then it's a 3-hour drive on the E50 west to Reims.

Day 7: You'll want to see the Cathedral, of course, but leave time for the memorial to the Families of 1914, which shows the souls of dead soldiers being lifted to Paradise.

And the Parc de Champagne, with its replica of The Thinker.

Then it's an hour and a half drive on the E50 back to Paris.

See also: A Beefcake Tour of the Louvre.

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