Iconic French Riviera Photo Reveals The Freedom Europeans Have No One Else Does

Forget nudism; the French have another seaside freedom we tend to forget.

It’s not shrugging off your bikini and allowing the sun to envelop your breasts. It’s not peeling off your board shorts, sans judgement, and receiving a rather unusual tan. It’s better than both. And — as this scorching European summer rammed home with an icy kick to the throat — Australian and American beaches are void of one of life’s greatest pleasures: drinking a cold brew — unmolested by rangers or do-gooders — on the beach.

Whether it’s a can of beer from the Marseille street vendors, an Antibes aperitif or a glass of white wine in Cannes (as seen in the following iconic sunset photo), enjoying an alcoholic beverage on the beach is a luxury the French (and most of continental Europe) take for granted, and which still makes most expats look around nervously, half expecting a megaphone wielding lifeguard to be bearing down upon them.

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This phenomenon can be also seen at Marseille’s Calanques de Cassis.

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And the chilled out atmosphere it produces is also evident from a bird’s eye view.

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It’s also seen at the French Riviera’s equivalent of Bondi Icebergs (although Antibes’ classic Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc now looks slightly different to what it did in 1976, we understand the “drinks by the pool” policy is still as liberal as ever).

This feeds into a broader discussion over the freedoms Europeans are afforded, which Australians and Americans have been either too prudish or too safety conscious to permit, including going topless (should one wish)…

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… to diving headlong into summer (without a channel 7 documentary filming your every move).

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Why is this? While some would argue Australia and America’s beaches are a lot more dangerous to drink at (which they are, compared to the French Riviera), one look at the WCT worthy surf of Les Landes’ most popular nudist (and beer swilling) beach, Les Culs Nus, blows this theory out of the water.

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Another explanation, offered by Traveller, is “Europeans get to have nice things… because they don’t mess it up.”

“They get to drink in public because they don’t get rowdy and make a nuisance of themselves. They get to have a freshly poured beer down by the beach because they don’t annoy anyone.”

“They get to grab their wine glass and go and stand in the middle of the town square to chat to friends… They get to drink out of a proper glass when they do this, too, because they’re trusted to act like adults and not break that glass or try to steal it.”

Is there some truth in this? Possibly. But hey: at least it makes the novelty of things like stripping off, cycling without a helmet, double parking and enjoying a beer at 11am that bit tastier when we do make the pilgrimage.

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