All the places it is forbidden to wear a swimsuit on the French Riviera

swimsuit french riviera

For a nation with almost 500 official nudists sites, the French can be a little prudish when it comes to showing a bit of skin away from the beach. Here’s a list of all the French Riviera communes that have banned the wearing of swimsuits in their streets and shops. 

Laws governing “decent” clothing are believed to have existed in France since the 17th century, with the final official rules on an appropriate public dress code coming to an end in a surprisingly recent 1994.  

While there is no centralised legislation that governs swimwear today, numerous towns and cities across France, from Arcachon on the Atlantic coast to Deauville in the north, Ajaccio in Corsica and more than a few in the Côte d’Azur, have adopted an arrêté municipal that formally bans the wearing of a swimsuit – for men and women – “en ville”.  

Locally, Menton, Nice and Cannes all have some form of the ban in place. In Nice, for example, a fine of €35 can be applied to those flouting the rules.

Meanwhile, in another of the popular beach resorts in the Alpes Maritimes, Antibes, where it is a fairly common sight to see beachgoers wandering through the old town in a pair of boardshorts or a bikini top coupled with a floaty skirt, no such rule exists. According to the town’s mayor, the issue has simply never been brought up by residents.

Over in the Var, Bandol, Saint Tropez, Sainte Maxime and Saint Raphaël have all enacted a ban. In the latter, anyone wearing clothing deemed to be “obviously contrary to decency” can be slammed with a €150 fine. According to France 3, 25 of these fines were issued in Saint Raphaël last summer.  

The volume and level of the fines might vary from commune to commune, but one thing that these beachside locations can agree on is that walking around town or popping into shops with a “bare torso”, which includes the wearing of a bikini top, is just not publicly acceptable.  


Make sure you’re never left out of the conversation.  

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram and LinkedIn.


Photo source: Oscar Nord, Unsplash