Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Wednesday 10 September 2014

France's topless beaches -- on the demise? really?

The beach in Nice (in colder weather)

Many of my recent posts have been about stories other people have written about France. I know! And I just can't stop!

I realize I can't live in all parts of the country at once, but I'm still always surprised at how much some of the reporting in the North American media differs from my own experience. There are regional differences, yes, but I think there's more to it than that.

The National Post just published a story from AP about how the trend of toplessness is on the demise on France's beaches. The story started with a poll done by Elle magazine, but I'm not sure where in the country they asked their questions. And now the Huffington Post has it, too.

I've seen much fewer topless bathers on the beaches in the north of the country, yes, but here on the French Riviera, the trend is still huge. HUGE. Maybe it was never as big in the north where the weather is cooler. Down here, however, there are both young and older women lying out, bare-breasted on almost all of the beaches and many of the outdoor pools. It doesn't seem to be so much of a feminist thing, even if those are the roots, as it is just a very widely accepted part of the culture.

When I first moved to France, I found the views French women had about their bodies to be fascinating. They don't have the same divide as North Americans do of good girls and bad girls. Strange for a North American to experience (it did take me some time to get used to it), but in a lot of ways, I've found that lack of barrier can be very, very good.

I'd post a picture to show just how much the trend is still present, at least around here, but even though I've grown used to the half-naked sunbathers, I still think posting pictures of them is probably rude!

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