Cap d’Agde- The World’s Completely Naked City
by Kate Brunotts
Nudists, rejoice! Cap d’Agde, oftentimes coined “the naked city”, is more than welcoming of tourists – In fact, they rely on it. The naturist community builds a great deal of their infrastructure from tourism, and it is such a part of everyday life that many of the locals speak English; Not to mention, there’s many swanky AirB&Bs up for grabs.
However, this seaside town wasn’t always like this. Cap d’Agde, which now proudly touts “endless escapism” on its official travel website, began as an average town dependent on fish and winemaking. Somewhere along the way, it became the naturist paradise we know today….
From Boats to Baring it all
Cap d’Agde is located off the southern coast of France right upon the Mediterranean Sea. The city itself is not totally nude, however, there is a 2 mile stretch of beaches and nude campsites/resorts coined the “naturist village”.
This niche market has allowed the seaside town to charge a daily tax on tourists: Along with leaving your tighty whities at the door, you can say a sweet goodbye to 8-18 Euros per day. However, this cost is minimal when taking into account the once-in-a-lifetime experience you can gain just by being in Cap d’Agde.
After World War 2, the land was redeveloped out of a lack of natural resources and a boom from tourists, especially German and Dutch groups. Out-of-town visitors often sunbathed nude or partially nude, and eventually, the Oltra Family, who owned the main resort of the village, helped officially make the beach a naturist paradise.
Here, you can find just about everything: Swingers, families, individuals, curious couples- The beach naturally congregates into unofficial zones and serves as a beacon of libertarianism. According to visitor accounts, finding your group is pretty obvious and whatever zone you’re looking for is readily accessible.
The naturist beach is monitored closely by lifeguards during the day and there are signs around the beach depicting intense consequences for any beachgoer who decides to disturb the peace in any fashion.
Other than a lack of clothing, the town is otherwise conventionally normal: There’s a couple of shops, including clothing boutiques, restaurants, a bank, and a post office.
Clothing ends up being reserved for mainly the evening, though it’s wise to carry around a towel, as it’s considered polite to put down on your seat before dining at a restaurant.
The Development of Naturism
In a lot of ways, the development of the nude village isn’t all that surprising. After all, nudism isn’t as taboo in Europe as it is in America. The city of Nice alone is known for its topless beaches, and throughout the country, partially nude or fully nude swimming isn’t a huge deal.
Cap d’Agde is particularly centered around Naturism which has a whole lot more to do with nature than it does with bearing your birthday suit just for the hell of it. Naturism is the belief that nature is somewhat divine, as there are many things in everyday life such as the creation of the sun, or of human life, that a normal rationale cannot fully explain.
Therefore, naturists vow to bring themselves as close to nature as possible, oftentimes stripping down to a more natural state, out of respect and reverence for the unknown natural world around us.
Cap d’Agde is proud of its naturist cultivation and is determined to keep their ground holy for those looking for a retreat back to a more minimal level of life. Photography and filming are banned within the village grounds, and you must obtain a naturist pass depending on the season to enter the gates to the bare city.
With the onset of Millenials shifting towards minimalism, it only makes sense that this town continues to harbor more and more visitors every year. For some, the decision to live in Cap d’Agde is getting away from the fast-fashion world highly dependent on signaling status to one another.
Its carefree attitude and destigmatization of nudity as not inherently sexual (though there are swinger clubs if you seek them out) is a refreshing take on life that is not regularly seen in the highly individualistic, achievement-based western world.
If anything else, it seems Cap d’Agde is an excellent place to challenge your preconceived notions of what is accepted and what isn’t, all while enjoying the gorgeous beaches of the Mediterranean coast.