french island naturists protest clothing prescriptions

Formerly clothes free life visit our new home

On French Island, Nudists Rebuff Clothing Rules

The tourist flight left Ile du Levant’s vacation homes relatively cheap. That attracted a new wave of immigrants—people from the mainland who were skittish toward nudism. The island’s longtime residents dubbed the newcomers “the textiles.”

Among the textiles was Mr. Gacon, a retired civil servant at the French Treasury in Paris, who was elected president of the homeowners assembly in 2013 after buying a house on the island.

The newly installed president was cut from different cloth than his nudist neighbors. Mr. Gacon enjoyed skinny dipping in Ile du Levant’s pristine waters. But whenever he left the beach, the clothes came on.

“I’m not even sure he’s naked at home!” says Jean-Albert Vaillant, a 69-year-old who generally wears reading glasses—and nothing else—when running the village grocery store.

These days, Mr. Gacon stands at the center of a cultural revolution. He has advocated for…

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