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Bathing Beauties Baring Breasts and Buttocks

I can’t help but chuckle. I come back from vacation finding a barrage of articles in major newspapers about nudity on Paris Plage! I haven’t even had a chance to dig my toes into the sand on the Seine yet and now I have to worry about what I’m wearing…or not wearing as the case may be.

(See Elaine Sciolino’s article in the The New York Times from July 31, 2006, “Paris beach is all but au naturel,”, among many others!)

There is certainly no ban of nudity in very public advertising — Métro posters, billboards, magazine stands, etc. — but of course, that’s not REAL flesh, just photographed flesh! Still, I’m not surprised that Parisians were shocked by the decree to ban thongs and bare breasts, with fines as hefty as $48.

They go to the beaches of France and strip down to virtually nothing or nothing at all with nary a comment from anyone. So, why should Paris Plage be any different you might ask!?

When I read that Le Parisien proclaimed that “Heat wave or not, appropriate dress is required,” I understood immediately. There is an unspoken “rule” among Parisians that one should dress with respect to the city. The city makes an effort to be its most beautiful and the people who inhabit it should, too, so they think from their esthetic French cultural selves. This is why you don’t see the Parisians (as a rule) in sweat pants and sneakers. (if you do, then most likely those are the tourists who want to be comfortable while traveling!)

Still, this just cracks me up. The manager of Paris Plage said, “It’s a matter of prevention. This is a space of freedom, but if people want to see breasts, they should go to the Lido or the Moulin Rouge.” Then I remembered when the bare-breasted girls of the Crazy Horse performed on a public stage at the Eiffel Tower during Johnny Halliday’s free concert a few years ago, and no one objected!

I can just see the patrolling police having lots of fun with this one…spending their time scouting for breasts! I wonder if they will enforce the rules only with the women they favor or disfavor! And as I understand it, there as equally as many man in thongs as women — but will they enforce the rules on the men as equally? I doubt it! Can you just imagine the conflict between two macho men (one in uniform, one in a show of his tanned muscles) about bearing their buttocks or not?

I’m headed to the beach, that’s for sure, just to see what how many rebellious women (and men) I can spot baring their breasts or their bottoms…and I’m sure now not to be the only one crowding the beach this year for the same reason! The question remains, though, will I dare to be one of them?

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. There is no Parler Paris Après Midi meeting this month and because I will be traveling to San Diego for the Living and Investing in France Conference the second week in September, we are moving the next one up to Tuesday, September 5th instead of September 12th. So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.

P.P.S. The Summer 2006 Edition of The Insider Guide to Black

aris by Melinda Herron just got updated this morning! Visit for more information and to order your guide today!


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