To mark World Topless Day on Thursday, polling organisation Ifop has published a new poll in which French women were asked whether they go topless on the beach.
The results showed that just 19 percent of women do, compared to 34 percent in 2009 and over 40 percent of those surveyed in 1984.
The main reasons women gave for covering up were health reasons such as fear of skin damage or cancer (53 percent) and safety reasons.
Of the women surveyed 48 percent said they worried about being harassed or attacked by men if they were topless, while 46 percent said they worried they would be photographed and the photo put up on social media.
The results of the survey confirm trends that have been in place for several years as topless sunbathing – once a feature of many French beaches – steadily falls out of fashion.
On the other hand nudism or naturism, while still only a practice adopted by a minority of the population, does not seem to be suffering any fall in popularity.
While going topless on the beach is perfectly legal, many towns have rules against being topless in public – and these apply to both men and women.
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Going fully nude is not in itself illegal, but public order laws can be used against people whose nudity is causing alarm or distress to the general public.
It’s generally considered best to stick to designated nudist areas or organised nudist events if you wish to be naked in public.
“The first rule for any naturist is to respect other people”, Jacques Freeman of the Association for the Promotion of Naturism in Liberty (APNEL) previously told The Local.