Nudists' passions run high over 'raunchy' French tourists
to make a French nudist blush might appear to be a mission impossible. Not at Cap d'Agde, on the Languedoc coast, home to "naked city", Europe's largest nudist holiday colony.
A long-simmering war between two tribes of the unclothed "traditional" nudists and so-called "libertines" or exponents of free sex exploded into a public protest at the town's council meeting this week.
Old-fashioned naturists have been complaining for years that Cap d'Agde's once-sedate nudist quarter has been disfigured by an influx of partner-swapping clubs and raunchy hotels. A flurry of arson attacks on sex clubs two years ago was blamed on low-level terrorism by nudist fundamentalists.
At the Cap d'Agde council meeting, the protests took a more peaceful form. Traditional nudists complained that they, and their children, were being confronted with "voyeurist" and "exhibitionist" behaviour, including sexual acts in public. Worse, they suggested, the newcomers sometimes walked about clothed, mocking the "real" nudists.
Florence Denestebe, an independent local councillor, said: "When the sun shines, there is an area of Cap d'Agde which turns into the European capital of free sex."
She asked the town's mayor, and MP, Gilles d'Ettore, to intervene before Cap d'Agde's "oversexed" image caused an "explosion of libertine behaviour in non-nudist areas" .
About 30 traditional nudists (fully dressed) applauded her words from the public gallery. One said: "We bought a flat here 34 years ago because we wanted to live naked, to live with the sun. We wanted a natural life. Now, we are surrounded by wild animals."
The "Village Naturiste" at Cap d'Agde, established 40 years ago, attracts up to 40,000 tourists at one time. It has its own beach, port and marina, fenced off from the town. It has nudist camp sites, apartments, a hotel, shops, restaurants, bars, hairdressers and even a nudist post office and bank.
Mr d'Ettore said yesterday that he would consider the complaints but had already done all he could. By-laws have been passed to ban minors from the raunchier establishments. The protesters were not necessarily representative, he said. There had been no formal complaints.