Take the plunge for the new year. In France, many people take advantage of January 1 to swim, in Brittany, Normandy, Pays de la Loire, but also in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, where the Mediterranean is generally warmer than the ocean. Atlantic. Disguised or not, in swimsuits or wetsuits, the bravest run towards the water without asking any questions, but where does this tradition come from?

As RTL explains, it’s a practice that came straight from the United States, but the Americans were inspired by the Scandinavians who think that “bathing in cold water before diving into a steam bath was good for health”. The tradition is not new since the first bath documented by the media took place in 1904 across the Atlantic! In Dinard, in Ille-et-Vilaine, the “Last bath of the year” has existed since 1969 and therefore takes place on December 31 and not January 1, bringing together around 1,000 people each year.

In France, we are satisfied with cold water without steam but, for some, the benefits are the same, because it is a way to start the year in a healthy way and “to eliminate the excesses of the day before” , adds the radio. The most popular meeting takes place every year in the North, more precisely in Malo-les-Bains, where between 500 and 1,000 people gather every January 1 to throw themselves into the cold water together. Often disguised, the participants then gather around a hot drink – soup, coffee or chocolate – to share a festive moment and congratulate each other on their courage.

Do you want to take the plunge in 2023? Several editions are planned on the French coasts and here is a selection: