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Gay Paris, the City of Light, the City of Love… The French capital is famous for many things. But to Matt Cain, who spent his gap year there and recently went back to visit, it means something very different

As the Eurostar pulls out of King’s Cross station, I stretch my legs, plug in my phone and type three words into the Google search bar: gay, bar, Paris. I think about the trip ahead and know there’s a twinkle in my eye.

It’s a far cry from the first time I made the journey. In 1993 I was 18 and preparing to study French at university. Gap years were becoming more and more popular and those studying languages were advised to spend time living in a foreign country. In those days there weren’t many options open to someone like me and everyone agreed living with a family as an au pair was the best way to immerse myself in the language.

I wasn’t really sure what an au pair did but off I went, reassuring myself I’d be living a glamorous life in a famously chic city — only to find I was posted to a tiny village a 50-minute train ride away, working for a couple on the verge of divorce with two badly behaved children.

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About Attitude

Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award winning writer and creator of the exciting new TV series When We Rise, is on the cover of the latest issue of Attitude. Elsewhere in this issue: exclusive interview with the cast and creators of Moonlight, one of the most powerful gay films ever. Pop minx Bebe Rexha is ready to take over music. A special report on Kiev, Ukraine and whether it’s ready – and safe – for Eurovision. Travel issue special featuring New York, Ibiza, Paris, Fort Lauderdale, and more. PLUS: ‘Made in LA’, your FREE guide to Los Angeles.