The naked city. I want to go back, at least once more.

I spent five days nude.
Going shopping.
Sitting in the open-air restaurants.
Going to the post-office and chatting with fellow guests, at a party.
Having breakfast, every morning, in the rooftop restaurant of Hotel Eve, sitting in the sun, with a view over Cap d’Agde towards the sea, on one side and the mountains, on the other. A very pleasant experience.

You’ve probably heard of the naturist city, at Cap d’Agde, in the south of France.
I travelled by train, from Paris, where I spent two weekends, on either side of that week. The last one in May, 2005, before the high season.
Part of the trip on the T.G.V. – for me a once-in-a-lifetime-experience – was spoiled, by an hour or two of having the back of my seat kicked by an elderly, obviously handicapped man.
My high school French stretched just far enough to understand that a lady on the other side of the aisle was expressing sympathy for me, while her companion’s response was: comme ci, comme ca, with a shrug of the shoulders.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching the rural scenery glide by.
At last being in the part of the country where some of my favourite artists had lived and worked.
Although it did sometimes occur to me that the country-side still wasn’t that different from areas, away from Sydney and the coast.
The train arrived at Agde and only a few of us alighted and these other people were quickly gone.
I walked outside the railway station and there I was. Sure there was an empty taxi stand and sure, there was an empty bus stop. It was late in the afternoon.
I had that: What have I done? -feeling.
The place was deserted. Saw one lady, a nurse. Stand there for a while and then someone came to pick her up.
Walking away from the station would have been disastrous. I’d have been completely lost.
Another young woman appeared. She spoke English!! Was waiting for a taxi which would come, she assured me. Phew!!
It did. There was an elderly lady in the front seat, a regular customer. The young woman and I got into the back seat and so we’d be sharing the ride.
In Paris my daughter was my interpreter and we’d done so much there.
Then, when I’d suddenly arrived outside the railway station, it felt like being a little boy, who lets go of the side of the pool and then realises he cannot swim.
Now it was an adventure again.
A little it of chatting, in English in the back seat, while the old friends, in the front spoke French.
They were amused by my destination: the nudist city.
I suggested that madame might like to go and visit there herself. She might like it.
That made them laugh, after it was translated for me. The drive to the city/resort, is along pleasant country roads.
It was getting dark when I was welcomed at Hotel Eve, by the receptionist.

A comfortable, 3 star hotel. There was of course the t.v., but I had set myself the goal of finishing The DaVinci Code on this trip to France.
(I’d bought the book, as planned, at Sydney airport and started reading it on the plane.)

Breakfast, upstairs, in the open-air was part of the service. The lady in charge reminded me so much of a family-friend that I often write about. This woman got on with the job! Get all the food set out to select from. Serve the bacon and eggs etc., clear everything away by 9:30 (I suppose) and away.
My first opportunity to speak French and then still gave her the wrong room number, at first. It should have been huit!

A friend of mine (and his friends), here in Sydney, have been going to Cap d’Agde for many years. Made a lot of friends there and had suggested I go and talk to an American couple, who have an apartment there.
I did and was invited to their regular, annual helping-people-to-get-to-know-each-other parties that evening.

A fun experience, standing near the two wine casks on the verandah, that evening, speaking Dutch with three couples from the Netherlands.
As I was helping myself to some more wine, at one stage, the fellow beside me said: You’re Jo, aren’t, you?
his wife was there too. Turned out that I’d met this Welsh couple, in Sydney a year or so earlier, at the aforementioned friend’s place, in Sydney.
Yep! Here it comes………..small world.

My friend will not believe that I thoroughly enjoyed myself those five days, seeing barely (Pardon the pun.) 20 percent of the city and none of its surrounding areas.
That I hadn’t tried all the restaurants. (I liked the two by the beach.)

It seemed to me that not too many people sit nude, in a restaurant, by the Mediteranean Sea, chatting to an Englishman, about his work as a bus driver, in the U.K..
(On the buses had not been a favourite t.v. show but I’d seen enough of it to imagine what his life was like.)

Every day I took The DaVinci Code and my towel to the beach and it was fun to pass by and greet, the (Dutch) people whom I’d met at the party.
Also visited one couple and sat with them on the balcony of their apartment.

Spent quite a bit of the day, on the beach, reading the book, from when the beach was reasonably quiet, through the middle of the day when there was a constant parade of people walking along the beach.
The water still a bit on the cool side.

It was fun to think that forty-nine years earlier, a long distance away, I had passed that way, when the migrant ship took us from Amsterdam, through the Suez Canal and across the Indian Ocean, to Perth, Western Australia.

So, while my friend cannot believe that I did not even explore all of Cap d’Agde; that I did not even take the walk along the beach out of the naturist section to the nearby town…….. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and would like to go at least one more time.

Sure. I saw the adult clothing for sale in some of the shops. Sure. I knew that there were some adult goings-on in the evenings.
Even, at the party, at least one couple were trying to convince the others, at one stage that a bit of hanky-panky was good fun. You only live once. Etc..
But just the freedom. The beach. The sun. The air, was enough for me.

More about Cap d’Agde, from my friend, here.

The naked city. I want to go back, at least once more.


Ramsgate, Australia

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Artist's Description

Last week of May, 2005. Shoulder season. South of France: Cap d’Agde. Nude city.

Artwork Comments

  • Martin Derksema
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