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The Market Will Bare It: Transnational Nude Tourism

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As Europeans recovered from the devastation of World War II, nude beaches appeared in France.

After World War II, nudism took off in France as an economic development strategy. Tourists from all over Europe came to the French Riviera to sunbathe in the buff, spending their money and invigorating local economies laid waste by the war.

While nudity on beaches wasn’t legal in France until the late 1960s and early 1970s, local authorities tolerated it from the late 1940s onward because it drew tourists and their spending power. The Ile du Levant, an island off the French Riviera, was the first place to take advantage of the opportunity. “Economists confirm that the Ile du Levant, where precious currencies converge, can greatly aid the recovery of the franc.” So said an October 1952 issue of La France, quoted by historian Stephen L. Harp in his examination of this curious intersection of nudism and economics.

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“An emerging international nudist subculture created an unprecedented demand for nude vacationing.”

Stephen L. Harp, historian

Thirty thousand nudists summered on the island in 1952, a substantial increase over the original naturiste village on the island, Héliopolis. The settlement had been founded in 1931 by two doctor brothers who believed maximum exposure to the sunshine and fresh air was healthful. As the postwar economic boom started, many European tourists, some of whom liked to go au naturale, crowded the island.

“An emerging international nudist subculture created an unprecedented demand for nude vacationing,” Harp writes. “Northern European tourists brought foreign currency as well as expectations for what they should not have to wear while basking in the sun, water, and sea air.”

People were charged with indecency on Levant as late as 1948. But in the absence of any national policy in the highly centralized French state, the local municipality adapted a policy of “tolerating and even defending European nude tourism as a means of economic development,” Harp writes.

Continued…Read full original article…

Source: JStor Daily

Original publication 20 July, 2020

Posted on NatCorn 12th August 2020

Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.

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