In France, a New Generation of Women Says Non to Nude Sunbathing

Whether it's worry about the sun or a return to conservative values, young women beachgoers are spurning their topless mothers by covering up. France's new modesty

Kristian Dowling / Getty

A woman sunbathes on the beach during the 62nd International Cannes Film Festival in May 2009

For decades, the French have relished any opportunity to mock Americans for their supposed childish Yankee puritanism when it comes to matters of sex. These days, though, France is experiencing its own blush of youthful prudishness as an entire generation of younger French women says "Non, merci," to the summer tradition of topless sunbathing.

Since France's summer vacation season kicked off in early July, the French press has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the shrinking number of topless women on the nation's beaches. As eagle-eyed reporters have made quite clear, the prevailing trend among sun-loving women these days...

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