Bikinis? Burqinis? In Cannes They Test Your Swimsuit for ‘Secularism’


 Not long after the horror in Nice a month ago—as soon as the police barricades were cleared, and while flowers and stuffed toys were piling up in memory of the 85 people who died—topless sunbathers were back on the beach beside the azure waters just below the scene of carnage on the Promenade des Anglais.

The banality of bare breasts seemed a statement of defiant normality, given where we were and what had happened: a two-bit sexual hustler with a Muslim background looking to turn his shitty little life into a global spectacle, apparently had embraced the publicity campaign of the so-called Islamic State and driven a truck through the crowd that had been watching Bastille Day fireworks.

But nothing was going to stop French sun worshippers at the height of summer. The topless women on the beach were mostly senior citizens, but that’s the Riviera for you. Men, whether pot-bellied or buff, wear Speedos or their moral equivalent. And younger women these days tend to wear fairly classic bikinis.