Now, I have something of the utmost importance to share with you – especially if you are a man and you want to go swimming in a public swimming pool in France.
In France, swimming shorts are not allowed to be worn in swimming pools by men.
In France, men must wear clinging swimming trunks to swimming pools.
And, there is a world of difference let’s face it.
Chaps, if you are used to wearing your comfortable, anonymous, non clingy Bermuda shorts or baggy swim trunks with the discrete netting bag thingy inside – forget it in France. You had better pack your budgie smugglers if you want to go swimming here.
Apparently its all about hygiene.
Yes you heard right.
You have to wear tight fitting teeny weeny Speedo style swimming trunks to the pool in France because its more hygienic. “Ladies knickers” my neighbour calls them or to give them their proper French name “slip de bain” or “un boxer”.
Apparently, those in power say, you might wear your baggy swim shorts as normal shorts. If you do they may pick up dust and dirt and suchlike. But the clever and all powerful ones cunningly surmise, no man is going to wander around the dusty streets wearing his tiny, barely covering his modesty, nylon horror pants is he, so when he puts them on to enter the pristine waters of a public pool – they will be clean. I can only assume they have not visited the beaches of the south of France where barely there pants are much in evidence off and on the beaches. I can sort of understand the hygiene aspects but we all know that little kids wee in the pool, so its a bit of a moot point to worry about a bit of dust on a pair of pants really when you’re using a public pool.
In actual fact, this is a law harking back to 1903 when longer swimming shorts were banned by the Government and despite this rather tricky subject being raised numerous times in the French Parliament for an update, so far its a firm “non”.
If you do manage to make it into the pool in your normal swimming attire that doesn’t include Speedos – beware. Sirens will go off, lights will flash, crack squads of lifeguards will hunt you down and haul you out. Well maybe not lights and sirens but it will almost certainly result in the swimming attendant blowing a whistle, shouting at you and then if you ignore it, trying to fish you out with a hook.
And what about us ladies, I mean, if all the men in the pool looked like Daniel Craig in his tight fitting nylons we wouldn’t mind but by and large – they don’t.
Honestly, you couldn’t make it up could you.
I love France, I love the people but some rules are quite strange to me and that is definitely one of them.