'Perverts' Wanting To Sneak A Peek Are Ruining Paris Park's Nude Zone, Say Naturists

In 2017, a Paris park opened up a nude zone, but now, naturists are complaining that voyeurs and "perverts" trying to sneak a peek are ruining the area.

The nearly two-acre area of Bois de Vincennes is open for naturists between April and October. Signs are posted at the entrance to the area warning that inappropriate behavior is not tolerated.

But some naturists say the warnings are not being heeded.

"Voyeurs and exhibitionists come and bother the women, some masturbate in front of them, of course they are afraid," a naturist identified only as Bernard told Le Monde.

Other problems involve people having sex in the open, and another naturist, William, tells Le Monde of women being groped in the bushes.

"There are no toilets, but for men, it's easier — you can go to the woods. For women, it's more complicated. There are perverts in the bushes that watch them and ambush them," William said.

bois de vincennes park paris
A man relaxes in the nude zone of Bois de Vincennes in Paris in this photo from 2017. Bertrand Guay/Getty

Police have increased patrols of Bois de Vincennes after the reports of voyeurism and exhibitionism. However, according to police commissioner Hugo Arer, there have been no formal complaints this year.

"Sometimes there's a police unit that comes by, but if they don't catch anyone in flagrante délicto, they can't punish anyone," Bernard said.

Laurent Luft, president of the Paris Naturists' Association, was involved in choosing the site of the nude zone in the Bois de Vincennes. Luft told The Guardian the problems were exaggerated.

"After I heard of these complaints I spoke to a male friend who goes to this naturist area every single day; he told me he'd never seen any sordid activity or activities that don't correspond to the idea of naturism," he said, though he also admitted the situation might be different for women.

"If I was a woman I'm not sure if I'd go there, but lots of my female friends do. Any nudist area like a beach, or even an ordinary beach where there are women in bikinis, will attract an element of frustrated men," Luft said.

"It's a beautiful place and if we abandon it then [voyeurs] have won; except they haven't because then they wouldn't have anyone to look at," he added.

According to the French Federation of Naturism, France is the world's leading tourist destination for naturists. France attracts 2.6 million naturist tourists, with an additional 2.1 million native French naturists.

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A woman enjoys a meal at O'Naturel, at the restaurant's December 5, 2017 opening. Patrons would strip in a cloakroom before entering the dining area. Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/Getty

Businesses have tried to capitalize on the high number of naturists in France. Opened in 2017, O'Naturel was a fine-dining restaurant where patrons ate in the nude. Unfortunately, despite positive reviews, the restaurant closed February 16 of this year.

Last year, the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum in Paris offered a one-off naturist event. On May 5, 2018, nude visitors were invited to see the then-current exhibit, Discord, Daughter of the Night. The event attracted 160 visitors and sold out in less than two days.

'Perverts' Wanting To Sneak A Peek Are Ruining Paris Park's Nude Zone, Say Naturists | Culture