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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
French town bans swimwear on streets
Artist's impression of Paris Beach project
Paris could soon become the new Riviera
The mayor of a beach resort on France's Mediterranean coast wants tourists to cover up while on holiday in his town.

From Monday, anyone caught in La Grande-Motte, a popular resort near Montpellier, without a shirt or wearing only a swimsuit in the town's streets and shops will face a 40-euro fine ($39).


It's a way of saying, 'Let's not slacken up, let's be respectful of one another, and let's not let ourselves go'

La Grande-Motte's mayor Henri Dunoyer
But while mayor Henri Dunoyer tries to rein in the tourists, his counterpart in Paris is trying to attract them by creating a beach front on the banks of the river Seine.

Last week, Bernard Delanoe, already well known for his aversion to cars, announced he was planning to open a two-mile stretch of beaches from 18 July in the French capital.

Mr Delanoe is planning to have tonnes of sand poured on to the Seine river's right-bank expressway to carry out his vision of Paris-on-Sea.

Hundreds of deckchairs, palm trees and bathing huts will also grace the four beaches - two of sand and two of grass - although Mr Delanoe has warned people that swimming in the Seine still poses a health risk.

His latest idea follows last summer's disastrous closure of the same riverside thoroughfares without warning Paris residents, who ended up being caught in severe traffic jams.

T-shirt hand-out

Mr Dunoyer came up with the idea of a ban on swimwear after some shopkeepers in La Grande-Motte complained that people were showing too much skin.

"It's a way of saying, 'Let's not slacken up, let's be respectful of one another, and let's not let ourselves go,'" he told French radio.

Police have been instructed to give people a last chance to cover up before ordering a fine.

They have also got T-shirts to hand out to those in need of them.

But not everyone appreciates Mr Dunoyer's efforts to make the town a more decent place to be.

"To forbid people to wear swimsuits in the streets is a bit much," one female visitor, wearing one such item, told Le Parisien newspaper.

"Only when we are on holiday can we fully and freely enjoy the sunshine. I find this [new rule] very restrictive," she added.

See also:

27 Feb 02 | Europe
08 Jan 02 | Europe
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