Paris’ first and only nude restaurant will be closing at the end of February due to lack of customers.
As the Daily Mail quips, “no nudes is bad news” at O’naturel. While the French may be much more laissez faire about nudity than Americans, the restaurant may have just been a bit too far ahead of its time.
Co-owner Stephane Saada said that France may be one of the top tourist destination in the world for nudists, those nude tourism opportunities extend to beaches – and that’s it. Stephane and his twin brother, co-owner Mike, had hoped that O’naturel would provide nude tourists the best of both worlds: nudism and fine Parisian dining.
The concept made sense on paper. Diners arrived fully-clothed, get undressed in a private area, check their clothes in a cloakroom, and enjoy a fine French meal. Diners would be offered slippers so they wouldn’t have to eat in their bare feet. Women could still wear their high heels if they wanted to (it’s unclear if any took them up on that offer).
A curtain over the exterior window thwarted gawkers, and diners sat on black covers on the chairs that were changed between seatings.
As Parisian meals go, the menu at O’naturel was surprisingly affordable: diners could get a three-course meal of lobster, foie gras and snails with parsley cream sauce for about 50 Euros ($57.50).
Unfortunately, Parisians and tourists simply couldn’t get into the experience, and O’naturel is going to have to close its doors.
In a statement, the brothers waxed poetic about their failed business venture.
“We will only remember the good times, meeting beautiful people and customers who were delighted to share exceptional moments.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Paris attempts are being made to make the city attractive to tourists during the colder months. For example, over at the City of Lights’ Bois de Vincennes park, officials started a trial program in October where nudists could swim nude in the pool a few times per week. Nudism is also allowed in sections of the park during warmer months.
Of course, there are nude restaurants in the United States – sort of. The commissaries and dining rooms of American nude resorts (which require memberships – you can’t just show up) are clothing optional, according to BonAppétit, but etiquette dictates that you at least bring a towel. Nudist and photographer David Lansing sums it up succinctly.
“Naked butts at the table are a big no-no.”