We talk a big talk about saunas and backrooms in Paris, but totally admit it – we haven’t been to all of them. And sometimes, the ones we have visited, well, there aren’t really appropriate stories that we can share…
But after a lovely and relaxing evening at one of Paris’s largest gay saunas, SunCity, we thought it was time to pen a proper recap, so you can know what to expect if you decide to try it. If nothing else, all we can say is that we highly recommend it, and that’s a totally unbiased, non-sponsored testimony. Note: SunCity did not pay us for this post!
WHAT IS IN A SAUNA
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of a gay sauna is sex – but it’s not just about that. Sure, there are places to hook up, but that’s not an essential component. The sauna at SunCity, for example, has several floors, one with a gym and a movie room (not even dirty films). Another floor has two hot tubs and a pool with a few steam rooms.
There is a sort of Indian theme running through it, so think Kama Sutra as you head up to the top floor. Here you’ll find cabins that aren’t for changing your clothes. They are there for getting frisky with people you meet along the way – but they can also be totally avoided if you’d like.
WHEN TO GO
We went on a Sunday afternoon, later in the day, hoping that there would be people there. And there were. As the night waned on closer to 9/10PM, there were fewer new faces, but it was still pretty packed. During the week it will be a bit calmer, so if you’re looking to have a buffet of men to choose from, stick to weekends and evenings. Just note that it’s open from 12pm to 6am every day, but again we imagine pickings get slim later on in the wee hours of the night, though this also means more room in the Jacuzzi!
WHAT TO BRING
You can just show up if you’d like and get everything you need. Once you pay the entrance fee – which varies from 12-21 euros – you get a towel and a wristband with a condom and lube. Play safe, boys. The wristband also has a number that corresponds to the locker that you should use, but that’s not a strict rule. Any open locker will do since they close with a code that you choose.
You can buy flip flops or bring them, just make sure you have something for your feet. As far as a swimsuit is concerned, you may be one of the only to be wearing one. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to being naked around these men. It’s all very Greco-Roman. You wear your towel around your waist, sure, but once you hit the water, it's best not to be shy. Get naked and just go with it.
WHAT TO DO
You have choices. Do you want to sit in the Jacuzzi and relax? Go for a small swim in the cold pool? Sweat it out in the hotbox? See who’s getting naughty in the steam room? The options are endless. Some guys apparently just go to use the gym machines while others are totally content to kick back with a movie or to chill in the smoking room. Other people stay upstairs, strictly prowling the cabin and halls looking for that night’s boyfriend. The choice is yours.
Our advice is to keep hydrated at the bar where they have cups and water, and don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do. The sauna has a very strict policy about respecting other clients, so it’s almost less sketchy than most gay bars and clubs. Everyone across all ages and walks of life heads to SunCity, and they were all very friendly – some more so than others – but none were rude or pushy.
Well it can really happen anywhere – just not in the pools or Jacuzzis. At one point, the steam room was a mini orgy, and the next hour it was quiet. Two guys were getting handy next to the Jacuzzi, which can be fun to watch if you’re not too busy giggling.
And up in the cabins, there is lube available for whatever kind of sex you want. Some cabins have glory holes, others have holes for watching, and others have harnesses or mirrors. There is even one hall that is pitch black that you can walk into and probably come out covered in various liquids. It’s all there, but not an integral part of the experience.
Of course we checked them all out, because, well, duh, we were researching them for you. But the takeaway is that the entire experience was relaxing and a little titillating at certain points. We strongly suggest giving SunCity a try.
64 Blvd de Sebastopol 75003 (just north of the Pompidou Center)
Price (includes soft drinks, towels, and condoms):
12 euros (Mon-Thurs) or 14 euros (Fri-Sun) for under 26 year olds
20 euros (Mon-Thurs) or 21 euros(Fri-Sun) for over 26
15 euros (Mon-Thurs) or 17 euros (Fri-Sun) after 3AM