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Nude dining with The Naturist Association in Paris
Nude dining with The Naturist Association in Paris | © Association des Naturistes de Paris
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Why Paris is Becoming the Most Nudist-Friendly City in Europe

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 18 April 2018
There are more than 2.6 million people in France who make social nudity a part of their lifestyle. And whilst Paris might be short of the nature most people associate with naturism, it’s actually one of the best places to enjoy nudism in Europe. From bowling a strike to swimming, taking yoga or water aerobics, there are many activities on offer.

Urban naturism is the practice of naturism in a city all year round, and it’s really taken off in Paris over recent times. As opposed to the classic image of naturism being a spontaneous stripping-off in summer on the beach, sprawling naked beside a river, or skinny dipping in a mountain lake, this practice finds ways of regularly enjoying a nudist lifestyle amidst the city chaos.

The Naturist Association in Paris, which has existed since 1953, has always had a solid membership base. However, it is only in the past three years that numbers have started to explode with more and more locals joining in on their activities.

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The popularity of nudism in Paris has exploded over recent years | © Association des Naturistes de Paris

Last year, Bois de Vincennes, located on Paris’ eastern edge, put aside a temporary corner designated for nudists for the very first time, a move that has inspired a whole series of naturist-friendly openings ever since.

“The success of the nude zone in the Bois de Vincennes last year showed that the non-naturist community is in fact much more open to the idea than people thought,” Laurent Luft, president of the Naturist Association in Paris (Association des Naturistes de Paris), told Culture Trip in an exclusive interview.

“One could say that other cities – particularly Berlin, Munich, Vienna and Barcelona – are way ahead of us but we’re not that far behind.”

Nudist woman walking in forest
Nudist woman walking in forest | © Dudenopants / Wikimedia Commons

“Paris is a small city with two million residents who work hard and live in small apartments. Sometimes, people need to break away from the routine of daily life to try something different. The attractiveness of naturism in cities today is perhaps the fact that it allows one to shed the weight of society from our shoulders as we shed our clothes. Stress and worry fall and are replaced by freedom and – perhaps surprisingly for some – self-confidence,” Laurent Luft explained.

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Nude bowling with The Naturist Association in Paris | © Association des Naturistes de Paris

As well as offering a return to our origins – a liberation from the material constraints of contemporary society, which culminates in increased self-confidence – these activities are also just about having more fun. The most exciting social event the club has run so far was also the world’s biggest nude bowling tournament, which takes place every April 3rd.“

We have adapted naturism to the city’s existing infrastructure, with events like 10-pin bowling, restaurant nights, museum visits, dance parties and even a nude theatre evening this upcoming May 12, 2018, where both the audience and comic will be nude.

“In summer we head outside, with events like Paris Naturist Day on the last Sunday of June every year and visits to naturist clubs outside of the city. We’re even hoping to host the International Naturist Swimming Gala (in conjunction with the International Naturist Federation) in October 2019 and hope to attract competitors from around the world.”

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Nude swimming with The Naturist Association in Paris | © Association des Naturistes de Paris

These ambitious plans build on the existing popularity of nude swimming events in Paris. The Naturist Association in Paris offers enthusiasts the opportunity to swim in an Olympic pool and get buff in the buff three times a week, with water aerobics classes, swimming lessons, yoga classes and steam room.

“The atmosphere at these sessions is both sporty and friendly and we’re all part of a big family. It’s a great way to make friends in Paris, as we accept each other for who we are and not for our designer clothing or accessories”, Luft says.

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Nude dining with The Naturist Association in Paris | © Association des Naturistes de Paris

Paris recently welcomed its first naked restaurant in the 12th district, a quirky restaurant named O’naturel that’s become a particular favourite of the club for socials.

“Naturism is a way to accept oneself and others as they are. Judgements so often found in every day life don’t exist in the naturist community and a person’s complexes due to what they may consider to be a physical default disappear as one realises that no one cares,” Luft explains.

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Nude dining with The Naturist Association in Paris | © Association des Naturistes de Paris

“On top of that, because we are prepared to show ourselves as we truly are physically, we also open up more in conversation and tend to talk openly and honestly, creating friendships on a higher level of sincerity and respect.”

In total, there are some 460 spots reserved for naked enjoyment in France, including 155 camping spots and 73 beaches – plus whichever city attractions become the next ones to join this liberating, urban naturist revolution.