Paris’ first nudist restaurant is due to close in less than three days – just over one year after it first bared itself to customers. While France is home to an estimated 2.7 million naturists and countless tourists who follow suit, the business has proved to be unsustainable since it first opened its doors in November 2017. Called O’naturel, it will now officially shut up shop in February 2019.
The unique business venture appeared to be a winner during its first few months, so much so that it was even publically praised by the French Naturist Federation. Its president, Yves Leclerc, said: “It’s like when we’re on holiday, but it’s even better.”
This seemed to suggest that the fanfare would be long-lasting, but unfortunately, this was not the case.
The owners, 43-year old twins Mike and Stephane Saada, are maintaining a positive tone despite the failure – insisting it’s been a ‘delight’ to see the concept brought to life in a city like Paris. In a statement, the pair said: “We will only remember the good times, meeting beautiful people and customers who were delighted to share exceptional moments.”
So how exactly did things work at O’naturel? Well, customers would initially arrive clothed before being directed into changing rooms. They would then undress before leaving their belongings – including mobile phones and cameras, which were banned – in personal lockers.
Before eating, customers were reminded of the strict code of conduct at the café. This largely focused on the fact that it was meant for solely naturists rather than those looking to become romantically involved with another diner. From this point onwards, guests were invited to choose from a menu that was classically French, including dishes such as foie gras, rack of lamb and crème brûlée.
News of the closure appears to have generated as much buzz as the original opening did. This has certainly been the case on social media, where users have taken the opportunity to crack jokes at the expense of the failed business. One person quipped: “You’d think after a nude restaurant going belly up, they would have had their fill. (puns intended).” Another added: “The French capital's first nudist restaurant, O'Naturel, will close because it could not put enough bums on seats.”
Here at Café Reality we recognise that starting up and maintaining any business is a struggle to say the least. With this in mind we wish Mike and Stephane all the best for the future.
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