MisterBNB, gay-friendly apartments & rooms, is a great place to finding chic, affordable travel housing with twist. With over 4,000 hosts spanning 65 countries, it’s worth adding to your travel gaydar.
Queerty chatted (sadly, only via email) with Johan Akan, MisterBNB’s brand ambassador who lives in Paris, to learn more about him and where he likes to hang out. Safe to say, the mainstream AirBNB does not employ anyone remotely resembling Johan.
Why did you agree to become the MisterBNB brand ambassador?
It was actually Matthieu and Marc (the website founders) who persuaded me. Matthieu and Marc know how to market MisterBNB, but they needed a brand ambassador to represent the site. At that point, I knew they had a compelling product on their hands, as I could totally picture myself as a user.
What is your favorite gay ‘hood?
That would definitely have to be Le Marais, in Paris. It’s really cute; you can find plenty of nice boutiques, restaurants, bars and sex shops for anything you may desire. And, it’s actually quite a big neighborhood. It’s become so cool that it’s also packed with straight people – which is ok, because there’s room for everyone. It’s also unlike other touristy areas where you can find almost anything, but nothing is particularly special.
Before being a gay spot, Le Marais was the historical Jewish neighborhood of Paris. It’s interesting, isn’t it? It clearly shows a certain open state of mind that reigns on the block. You can walk down Rue des Rosiers, grab one of the finest falafel in Paris or a burger at Schwartz’s deli, while doing shopping (I recommend L’Eclaireur Store), buy a new cockring at Rob’s or IEM, and then grab a drink at the Raidd Bar and watch the stripper shower show.
What the difference between AirBNB and MisterBNB?
MisterBNB offers a more personalized service. It means the assurance of not being judged by the owner, avoiding any embarrassment and ultimately feeling more secure – either because you’re gay and you don’t want to end up dealing with someone homophobic or because you’re a girl and that way you have nothing to fear. But, it’s also a nice way to meet new people, make more individual connections and therefore receive better advice on where to visit and go out. In other words, our hosts provide relevant tips to who we are as gay men and women.
Finally, if stereotypes come from even the slightest of truths, we’re said to be rather good with house staging and decorating. If you have to stay a week somewhere, you might as well be cozy.
You have obviously seen the inside of a gym more than a few times
I live in Paris, right next to Le Marais. As I said, it is one of the nicest gay areas in the world, but I’m a little timid, so I don’t go there too often.
I work out at Klay. To me it’s the best gym in Paris. Every single staff member is adorable, well mannered and helpful. It’s silly to say, but that’s really not the case everywhere. (On top of all, in Paris!) The gym is splendid, a former printing house, with this huge glass ceiling that makes it stylish in both a modern and vintage way.
What’s the best way to meet locals in places where you travel?
Grindr? (lol, I mean …why not, even though I prefer Scruff. . .) Otherwise, bars work, of course – I think way more than clubs. I like to chat and meet people, but it’s not so easy when the music is so loud. You can’t hear a word people say and you end up shouting, and after a couple of “Say what’s,” you just pretend you understand. Silly, if you ask me.
Scroll down to see a few of Johan’s pics and enjoy the Parisian scenery…