The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

What not to wear at the pool

Did you know that men/boys are not allowed to wear board shorts/loose style swimming trunks in public swimming pools in France?  Well now you do!  I'm sure there'll be some exceptions to the rule as I certainly haven't visited every public swimming pool in the country but as far as I know it's pretty much standard everywhere.  The amount of times visiting guests from England used to get caught out when we lived in the Paris region was incredible.  Yes, we forgot pretty much every time to tell our friends and family to bring tight swimmers if they wanted to go to the pool with us. But over the years the amount of times they forgot too and seeing my dad sitting quite happily (dare I say smugly) on the side watching his grandson splash around at bébé-nageur sessions made me think perhaps they forgot on purpose too.















I have no idea what the thinking is behind this rather ridiculous rule.  Some say it's for hygiene. Uh? To stop pubic hairs falling out apparently but then it shouldn't apply to young boys.  Others say it's to avoid seeing a rogue bit of male anatomy flopping out!  But doesn't the unattractive bit of netting inside the shorts do this?   And isn't seeing the said bit of anatomy very graphically outlined, if not actually in the flesh, squashed into a tiny posing pouch even worse?  I don't get it, but you have to abide by the rules if you want to swim in the local municipal pool.  Don't worry, there are no such rules at the pool at Lou Messugo!  

Does your local pool have this rule?  Do let me know.  


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  • Guest
    Wander Mum Wednesday, 21 October 2015

    Thanks for pointing me to this post Phoebe. It definitely puts Brit men out of their comfort zone and I think being able to see a bulge right in front of you is far worse than the odd chance a bit of tackle may slip out! I'm impressed your men posed for in their trunk. Oh, and relieved to hear you don't go in for the trunk rule at Lou Messugo xx

  • Guest
    Thomas Tuesday, 11 June 2013

    Just like the good old Aussie speedo, the French slip

  • Guest
    Rin Friday, 14 September 2012

    We got a letter from school asking that all boys wear tight swimming shorts for their lessons so it is in Yorkshire too!

  • Guest
    Drahcir Samoht Wednesday, 05 September 2012

    I think it's a sensible rule for public pools. I well remember - and Phoebe may do too, as I believe we knew each other in those days - once a pool at Windermere (England, so very few rules of any sort) which campers, climbers etc seemed to be using as their bath to wash in, wearing their interpretation of swimming clothes, which were simply their much used and very grubby shorts. OK for your own pool if that's what you like, but better to have no-frills outfits that can be seen to be clean for use in public pools.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 04 September 2012

    Hi Janet
    I'm delighted you're reading my blog! Thanks for taking the time to comment. If your reasoning is right this implies that all French men and boys wear boxer shorts not "slip" as underwear otherwise the same could be said of them dropping their "pants" (US) to swim in their pants (GB). Do you follow me? This is getting complicated!

  • Guest
    Janet Ratziu Monday, 03 September 2012

    Hi Phoebe!
    I find this ridiculous too and so very un-fashionista! We were caught out once in the countryside down by Gap when my then little boy didn't have the proper "attire". I think the hygienic reasoning behind it though is so that the boys and men don't just drop their pants go swimming in their flowery underwear (or pants for you Brits ; )
    Happy rentrée to you!
    Janet Ratziu

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