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Cap D'Agde 2000 Trip Report, by Aaron (July 14-22)

Cap D'Agde is to nudists what Mecca is to Muslims: any nudist who can conceivably go during their lifetime should go to Cap D'Agde to experience nudism on a whole different level than what is offered in the United States.

Getting there may have been the hardest part for me. I live on the West Coast, and prior to this trip I had never flown farther than Hawaii. Thankfully the flights, although long, weren't too bad. It also helped that I booked an escorted tour with Through Our Eyes Travel. Claudine and Paul are excellent tour guides and help you navigate your way through the often confusing process of traveling in a foreign country.

After leaving Newark at 5pm Friday night, and arriving in Paris early in the morning, we boarded a plane to Montpellier, the closest major airport to Cap. A one hour bus ride later we arrived in Cap D'Agde in time for lunch. Unfortunately, it was bitter cold this first day. I was very disappointed in the weather- cold, windy, overcast, and clouds that threatened rain. Luckily, the weather progessively got better during the week. But if you ever plan going to Cap D'Agde you should prepare yourself for the possibility of cold, (Southern California)-winter like conditions even during the summer (Europe is not a TROPICAL paradise).

Following the first day, the crowds got larger as the weather got warmer. It's amazing to see the variety of people at Cap D'Agde. Nudism in the US is dominated by adults, and often single males. But at Caphere are thousands of people of all ages and gender. Most of the people there are either French or German. There are a few people from the UK and from the United States. Very little English is spoken at Cap. It helps to learn some French. I studied for six months before going, but still got lost a lot times trying to communicate in French. It's also very helpful to have someone like Claudine from Through Our Eyes who speaks fluent French.

The beach at Cap D'Agde is between 2-3 miles long. It's sparsely populated in mornings, and becomes increasingly packed as the day goes on. A great thing that I was not accostumed to was the long summer days in France. It gets dark roughly around 10pm, which means there are still plenty of people on the beach until around 7pm. Most everybody there on the beach is nude, with the exception of some children and teenagers, and the occasional gawker strolling in from the textile beaches to the west of Cap. People with clothes do feel out of place, and are few and far between. But there usually was some kind of enforcement on the beaches of Cap, who would require adults to go nude on the beach. Unfortunately there was no such enforcement which deterred the occasional gawker from strolling onto the nude beach. Cap D'Agde is a special place b/c everyone is nude. Hopefully next year there will be stronger enforcement of the obligatory nudity rules.

Cap D'Agde has three major hotel complexes, plus villas for rent, as well as camping grounds. I stayed in one of the hotel complexes (Heliopolis), which afforded a great view of the beach but was rather modest (no TV, no room service). If you go on vacation for great hotel rooms, don't bother with Cap D'Agde. If however, you want to be able to shop for groceries nude, eat lunch nude, go swimming nude, then you'll love Cap. It's a great experience to able to do these things nude.

The only major negatives about Cap D'Agde is that everybody wears clothes starting at dinner time (around 8pm). The French like to dress up for dinner. I have no problem with people wearing clothes at night (there were a few nights when it was WAY too cold to go nude). It's just that you will feel out of place being nude at night at the restaurants and clubs. It's a shame that being nude is not socially acceptable at all times at such a great place like Cap. The only other negative for me is that there is some discrimination against single males, who are not let into night clubs at Cap D'Agde. I don't expect I would have enjoyed myself in those clubs anyway, with the language barrier and all those clothes the people were wearing.

If you go to Cap, do consider going with Claudine and Paul from Through Our Eyes Travel. They let you do as much or as little as you want with the group. It's good to have other Americans there to eat meals with and go to the beach with. You'll still have time to interact with the wonderful French and German and other European people at Cap.

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