The rules of swimming attire in France
Ah French swimwear rules and regulations. Always a topic that is interesting shall we say? For years customers have been baffled, amused and downright confused by our Gallic friends’ quirky demand that male swimmers abandon baggy swim-shorts in favour of the more tight-fitting trunks (affectionately nicknamed “budgie smugglers”).
Skimpy swimwear in France is nothing new. It was in fact a French engineer who invented the bikini in 1946, causing much uproar worldwide for its indecency, but survey any French public swimming pool and you’ll see that the country’s love of material-lacking swimwear has never quite disappeared.
We don’t all want to flaunt what we’ve got for all to see, so we realise that deciding what to wear to the pool in France, particularly for men, can sometimes be a bit of a sensitive situation. Everyone wants to feel comfortable on holiday – it’s usually the only time of the year that you can truly kick back and relax. The last thing you want is the ‘trunk-police’ ruining your peace!
So, once and for all we debunk the myths and dispel the rumours about what you can and can’t wear when swimming in France (and beyond!).
Why can’t I wear what I want?
We work with many campsites, all with differing rules, so we do always try and stay on top of who can wear what and where. Now we’re going to look at the why.
Not health and safety I hear you cry. Unfortunately yes, the swimwear rules are put in place for hygiene reasons. Our friends at Château de Boisson shed some light on this often confusing situation: “it is unlikely that men will wear tight-fitting swimwear other than at the pool area whereas swimming shorts and Bermuda shorts could arguably be worn all day long and the accumulated dirt and perspiration then all passes into the swimming pool if they then subsequently use the same shorts for bathing.”
If you don’t fancy nipping down to your local high street to grab a pair of trunks, then don’t fret, the campsites that enforce the rules will usually sell them in an on-site shop.
The rules for women seem to be that regular swimsuits and bikinis are fine as most people wouldn’t wear them out and about for a day of sightseeing.
So what about the rest of Europe?
Rules in Spain and Italy are a bit more relaxed on the subject of swimming trunks but Italy in particular has a love of swimming caps. The laws require that everybody, regardless of how much (or how little) hair they have, must wear a swimming cap when in a public pool. Don’t worry about looking silly, just take a glance around!
Please always check our campsite information online or in our brochure to see if it’s a ‘swimming trunks compulsory’ or a ‘swimming caps compulsory’ site. Always best to be prepared!
No-one is out to ruin your fun, or to make you feel uncomfortable so we hope this helps the next time you find yourself packing for your well-deserved summer holiday.
Sites where trunks are enforced:
Ardèche & Cevennes
Jura & Loire
Normandy & Picardy
South West France & Royan
Camping Le Vieux Port, Atlantic Club Montalivet, Camping Eurolac, Camping les Vignes, Domaine de la Rive, Camping Sen Yan, Camping Col Vert, Camping Côte d’Argent, Camping Lou Pignada Ondres, Sequoia Park, Domaine d’Oléron