‘I joined 40,000 tourists at a nudist town’

Wish you were here ... model wows in the sunshine in cheeky postcard for the seaside resort.

Lee PriceThe Sun

FIVE metres in front of me across the laundrette, a man squats by a washing machine to gather his freshly cleaned clothes — and makes me wince. He’s wearing a baseball cap, flip-flops and nothing else.

When he stands up and turns around, his old chap hangs right before my eyes — and completely puts me off my lunchtime baguette.

Minutes later I find myself walking toward a bearded man pushing a walking frame. It carries shopping bags on each handle. The happy shopper, though, is carrying not a single stitch of clothing.

But nudity is the norm in sunny Cap d’Agde, in the South of France, as the whole town is a naturist resort where holiday-makers roam starkers.

It is one of a number of cheeky naturist destinations the French tourist board is marketing to eager tourists. Bosses have even created an English-language website to advertise the breaks, including a questionnaire to help you decide if you are a naturist at heart.

A tourist doing washing in the nude. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

A tourist doing washing in the nude. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

One of the hot spots is Cap d’Agde — so I visited for a few days to peek at what is going down apart from the clothes. Nudity is everywhere, whether people be catching rays on the beach, buying sausages at the butcher’s or making a deposit at the bank.

As I stroll the streets, butt-naked couples stand on balconies looking down. Wearing clothes, I feel like the odd one out. It’s April, but within minutes I’ve seen more flesh than a butcher’s assistant.

A woman busts out of her comfort zone on holiday. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

A woman busts out of her comfort zone on holiday. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

In the summer months you get an even bigger eyeful, with more than 40,000 brave tourists daring to bare.

Oddly, most of the stores in the town’s two shopping centres sell clothes. But in the newsagent’s, shelves are filled with specialist nudist magazines. And there is a strip club, Melrose Cafe, though it is closed during my visit.

Curiously, staff in the town’s various establishments, which also include numerous hair salons and an optician, are fully dressed. A waiter in a pizza restaurant rolls his eyes when I ask why he is not naked.

He tells me: “A lot of people ask me this. If you want to be naked, that is your choice. I choose not to be.”

Shoe shopper ... a man hides his modesty in a plain white T-shirt. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

Shoe shopper ... a man hides his modesty in a plain white T-shirt. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

A tan-tastic pair join in the fun on the beach. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

A tan-tastic pair join in the fun on the beach. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:Supplied

Guests eat in the buff in the restaurant but the custom is to bring a towel to sit on. Next to me sit an older German couple who embrace the naturist culture during the day although now, in the milder evening, are fully dressed.

They said: “We’ve been visiting this place for many years. It is comfortable and relaxed.

“Yes, OK, the first time you take your clothes off it is scary. But once one person has seen you undressed, everyone can. It feels great to have sun all over your body.

“You should try it.”

Cap d’Agde is a purpose-built naturist town, spawned in the Seventies from a small nudist campsite which was first set up in 1958.

In 1964, in a nearby river, a nude bronze statue, the Youth of Agde, was discovered and the relic of a Greek shipwreck now stands in pride of place in Agde’s museum. Prompted by former French President Charles de Gaulle’s plans to boost tourism by building six new seaside resorts from scratch, Cap d’Agde was created with a man-made channel separating it from its clothed neighbour.

Buildings are even designed to be less than four-storeys high so that naked flesh is rarely in the shade.

Letting it all hang out. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

Letting it all hang out. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

Which is handy because to gain entry to the grounds of the original campsite you must be completely naked.

A sign at the gate commands visitors: “Live like us — undress yourself”, while a moody security guard keeps watch and stops any clothed folk in their tracks.

To enter Cape d’Agde cost €12 ($18) for me and my photographer for three days — and this charge makes the local government a pretty sum of more than $2 million a year.

New arrivals are handed a leaflet spelling out conditions of visiting. Number one is “practise total nudity in the company of other naturists”. Gulp!

The place is also a favourite of swingers. Down one street a huge sign advertises a “trio sex party” next Saturday night — while one nightclub signals its liberal vibe with the name Club Libertin.

A tourist hunts for a comfortable mode of transport. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

A tourist hunts for a comfortable mode of transport. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

Cap d’Agde is a purpose-built naturist town. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

Cap d’Agde is a purpose-built naturist town. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

Indeed, the town has a very noticeable sexual undercurrent. A huge store on the corner of the harbour area is called The Love Shop and advertises sex toys in the window. Around the rabbit run of the town’s main shopping area are various bondage and fetish outlets and nightclubs. One hotel even has a Christian Grey suite, named after the S & M-obsessed character of erotic novel series Fifty Shades of Grey.

But by the beach, a sign threatens a $23,000 fine and a year’s jail for anyone caught committing a sex act in public. That is because Cap d’Agde also hosts a large number of families — and along the beach, among the adults in various states of undress, children build sandcastles.

One poster promotes a naturist chess club that meets on the sand each week, while a boules court behind the dunes hosts both dressed and nude players.

Even in my hotel pool I cannot avoid naked body parts. After diving in, I surface to realise that everyone else in and around the water is naked — and glaring at me in my swim shorts.

My cheeks (on my face) flushing red, and not from sunburn, I awkwardly shuffle my shorts down around my legs and fling them from the pool.

This is greeted with a cheer. But my departure from the pool is less glorious as I clumsily clamber over the edge one naked leg at a time, briefly lying spread-eagled on the poolside.

Cape d’Agde’s nudity is less than easy on the eye — expect no Page 3-style beauties here. But there is an exhilarating feeling of freedom.

As I take a sun lounger, daringly laying naked for the world to see, I do feel empowered. Until I spot a couple nearby laughing and pointing at something frighteningly close to my crotch.

Maybe I will stick to wearing shorts after all.

Sun man Lee Price gets a slice of the action. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The Sun

Sun man Lee Price gets a slice of the action. Picture: Jamie Lorriman/The SunSource:The Sun

This story originally appeared on The Sun.

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