It has been only 15 months since Paris’s nudist restaurant O’naturel opened its doors and it is already set to shutdown next month on February 16. In 2017, at the time of the launch, co-founder of Paris’s first and only nudist restaurant, Stephane Saada said, “We want to make gastronomy work for nudity”, but sadly the official website of the restaurant now states that “with great regret” the time has come to pull the plug.
The nudist restaurant was launched by 43-year-old twins, Mike and Stephane Saada, in November 2017, and its opening was hailed as the rising popularity of naturism in France. The founders are not nudists themselves, but they apparently knew how to exploit an opening in the naturism market. Nudists in Paris could visit museums, go bowling and go swimming. But they had no full-time restaurant to call their own until O’naturel revealed itself.
The concept was to offer “the pleasure of dining naked all year in the capital in the respect of naturists values,” according to a magazine.
There were rules, of course, to dining at O’naturel. The customers undress in a cloakroom, where they must leave their clothes and their phones/cameras. The latter is insurance that no unwanted photos find their way onto the Internet. The servers and cooks remain fully clothed here, as required by health codes.
They even try to screen customers before they ever set foot in the restaurant, to better keep the pickup artists at bay. “We might reject someone, or explain to them that if they’re looking to hook up, they should go somewhere else,” Stephane told in an interview.
“We’re shutting down because we didn’t have enough clients. We would have preferred this adventure to go on for longer,” the founders told press in a statement.
The twins first opened the restaurant in November 2017, spotting a potential opportunity in the rising tide of nudism spreading through the fashionista capital. But, even with the apparently growing population of nudists in France, it’s not difficult to imagine that O’naturel had a small pool of customers to draw from. Naturists typically identify with the freedom associated with shedding their clothes, which liberates them from the usual markers of class, fashion and trends.
The nudist restaurant has minimalist decor and a menu of upmarket French bistro cuisine, which included dishes such as lobster, foie gras (made of duck/goose liver) and snails with parsley cream sauce- priced at €49 (roughly Rs. 4,000).
They also took caution from the unwanted attention from outside and had a large white curtain over the windows, and the black chair covers are discreetly changed between sittings.
They posted on Facebook, “We thank you for participating in this adventure by coming to dinner at O’Naturel,” the restaurant’s post read, “We will only remember the good times, meetings with beautiful people and customers delighted to share exceptional moments.”
The owners of O’Naturel encouraged guest to continue coming to the restaurant up until closing. “Do not hesitate to book now to enjoy a last naked dinner in Paris,” the post continued. “It’s now or never!”
Source: washingtonpost.com, news.yahoo.com, nationalpost.com