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.”

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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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