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France is one of the world's most tolerant countries toward gays and lesbians, and no special laws discriminate against them. "The Gay Riviera" boasts a large gay population, with dozens of gay clubs and restaurants. Gay Provence, 42 rue du Coq, Marseille (tel. 04-91-84-08-96; www.gay-provence.org), is operated by a group of gays and lesbians, each native to Provence, who offer tours to American and European gays and lesbians. Various activities can be preplanned or customized according to interests, and tours range from 1 day to 1 week. Participants are welcomed into the private homes of gay or gay-friendly locals. Attractions include such outdoor excursions as hiking, biking, or horseback riding, or cultural activities such as Mediterranean cooking lessons or meetings with artists and artisans.

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 800/448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www.iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry, and offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses. Many agencies offer tours and travel itineraries specifically for gay and lesbian travelers. Above and Beyond Tours (tel. 800/397-2681; www.abovebeyondtours.com) is a gay Australian tour specialist. Now, Voyager (tel. 800/255-6951; www.nowvoyager.com) is a well-known San Francisco-based gay-owned and -operated travel service. Olivia Cruises & Resorts (tel. 800/631-6277; www.olivia.com) charters entire resorts and ships for exclusive lesbian vacations and offers smaller group experiences for both gay and lesbian travelers.

Gay.com Travel (tel. 415/644-8044; www.gay.com/travel or www.outandabout.com) is an excellent online successor to the popular Out & About print magazine. It provides regularly updated information about gay-owned, gay-oriented, and gay-friendly lodging, dining, sightseeing, nightlife, and shopping establishments in every important destination worldwide. British travelers should click on the "Travel" link at www.gay.com for advice and gay-friendly trip ideas. The Canadian website GayTraveler (http://gaytraveler.ca) offers ideas and advice for gay travel all over the world.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.