Better Suit Up: Paris Bans Naked Sunbathers from Tanning in Public

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You can lay down and stretch out on the welcoming green grass or along the riverbank and soak up the sun – but be careful not to show too much.

The AFP reports that Parisian police are cracking down on naked sunbathers in light of the city’s annual Paris-Plages event. A popular activity with sunbathers, every summer the city creates artificial beaches on the banks of the Seine River for residents to relax and imagine as if they were among the country’s iconic Riviera beaches. OK, perhaps that’s a little far-fetched considering the din of traffic just yards away and frequent riverboat traffic, but Paris-Plages does enable the locals to enjoy a scene not typical of the city center. And as is customary at many European beaches, some prefer to strip down to very little, either for comfort or for tanning.

But Parisian authorities have taken the opportunity to warn sunbathers that they shouldn’t go wandering around the city solely in their bathing suits. In a statement, police said summer wear should be “decent and in accordance with good morals and public order.”

(MORE: Paris: 10 Things to Do)

The new policy asks that residents ditch their swimsuits in the city’s many official city parks or face new consequences. For flouters of the law, this could mean a fine of €38 ($46) for a minor offense. Those who go entirely sans clothing could face fines of €3,750 ($4,565) and two years in jail, if they are suspected of soliciting sex.

According to the police statement, it’s not forbidden to “put on your best bathing suit and find a little corner of grass … to put down your towel,” but across the city there’s a push to ensure public decency. And that means enforcing a few rules that may seem foreign to many French beachgoers. “Any outfit that allows for the genital area or breasts to be seen constitutes sexual exhibition and is punishable by a year in prison,” police said.

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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11 comments
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Don Blank
Don Blank

So has the Tea Party invaded France?

Nicole in Paris
Nicole in Paris

I live in Paris.  Have been to Paris Plage several times.  My daughter and I frequent the many city parks during the week.  I have never, ever seen a breast or someone's genitals.  People grotesquely making out, yes.  I would love that law to be enforced, but seeing someone enjoying the sun with no top, not yet and it wouldn't bother me.  I mean, if you saw some of the giant billboard ads, practically naked and airbrushed, you would wonder what the big deal was anyway! 

peter_rabbit_the_original
peter_rabbit_the_original

Wow -- dirty conservative minds at work in Paris!   People, there is a difference btw breasts and genitals. Where is the distinction here?  These people are as ridiculous as so many Americans.  On the other hand, the middle of the city is a bit different from an ocean beach -- maybe they are afraid of traffic accidents?

Shams Aci
Shams Aci

 Comment / Reflection:

Too much of nakedness or nudity is obscenity, which is being extreme in 

showing  in public, a sort of something awful / awkward / abusive. That

is,  overdoing   something beyond certain extent is a kind of public

nuisance.

  -  A.R.Shams's Reflection  -  Press amp; Online Publications.

     http://arshamssreflection.blog...

Shams Aci
Shams Aci

Comment / Reflection:

Too much of nakedness or nudity is obscenity, which is being extreme in  showing  in public, a sort of something awful / awkward / abusive. That is,  overdoing   something beyond certain extent is a kind of public nuisance.

  -  A.R.Shams's Reflection  -  Press amp; Online Publications.

     http://arshamssreflection.blog...

joggr
joggr

Breasts are not a sex organ, so what is the big deal?

Hannibal_Chew
Hannibal_Chew

Surely they realize anyone remotely attractive will be recorded and end up on multiple websites, or so I've heard.

Mark D'Truth
Mark D'Truth

I can't believe the Parisians are going to take this lying down!! 

LK312
LK312

Translation: Parisian women aren't allowed to sunbathe topless along the Seine or in the parks anymore because:

1. It shocks non-European tourists, especially when their kids are in tow for a family vacation. 

2. It aggravates the racial climate, since unemployed young immigrant men from African and Middle Eastern countries like to hang out in groups to stare and comment on the bodies and morals of the mostly white Parisian women.

3.  The whole topless thing is a Boomer generation thing that started after the 1968 social unrest.  Younger French women are much less inclined to go topless and well, most of their mothers and grandmothers(!) really shouldn't be going topless anymore.

JHHBEAR
JHHBEAR

How sad.  I thought the French were smarter than Americans about the absurd nudity taboo.