The Riviera’s beaches are widely known for two things, their beauty and the dress code. I must admit, I receive more inquiries from friends considering a visit about the latter than the former.
“Hey, didn’t I hear that there are topless beaches in France?” male friends ask with forced casualness.
So then I explain that it’s not just certain beaches where toplessness is tolerated, it’s okay AT ANY BEACH AT ALL. Anywhere. Everywhere. No exceptions.
“No wonder France is the most visited country in the world!” they exclaim.
The vision is the same: pristine sands, azure sea and a human landscape resembling a Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Issue” photo shoot.
I remember one ride to the beach during which the male members of our party discussed optimal poses (pretending to read) and attire (very dark sunglasses and a hat) to maximize their view of what would certainly be a sea of doppelgangers for starlets and runway models.
But contrary to popular belief, not all the women on the beach remove their tops. And the ones who do are not always the ones you would elect to see topless, if you were to choose. I find that any fears men may have of being caught sneaking a peek is quickly put to rest with the first half-naked grandmother they encounter. And wives who were barely tolerant of their husbands’ plans to openly ogle other women now smile smugly as the guys prefer to read their books.
In fact, it’s the women who adopt a whole different attitude toward the beach after they get there. Once reluctant to even visit, not wanting to bare their breasts but afraid of being the only one “fully” dressed, they feel much more at ease when they find that the whole scene is far less sexy than the average French TV ad for yogurt.
And with all preconceived notions now put aside, both Venus and Mars can finally settle in and … enjoy the beach.