Navigating the 100 Naked Places project

I’m about two thirds of the way through what I’ve taken to calling the 100 Naked Places project.  In essence, I have been creating an annotated list of ALL the places that I can remember where we have enjoyed clothes-free recreation, while including places that look intriguing, but we haven’t quite found a way to visit yet. Those in Thailand and Brazil for example, or some of the hot springs of the western United States.

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Croatia

Of all my various contributions to this blog over the past year, I find it intriguing that these pages have elicited some of the most interesting responses – sometimes as comments on the blog, but more often, in response to links I’ve posted on various naturist forums.  And in fact, some of the responses might best be characterized under the banner that “no matter how hard you try, you can’t piss off all the people all the time.”  This surprised me, really…  though I don’t know why.

In a nutshell, it occurs to me that people who have a passion for naturism are, in fact, passionate!  Not just about the right to enjoy nude recreation, but also to defend the nudist-naturist cause, whatever we all have decided that is supposed to mean.  Some have expressed concern that I didn’t give a positive spin to a place they enjoy as their favorite naturist place, despite my disclaimer that these are simply the places we have enjoyed the most, and this is the reason why.  And my notes about naturist places in Europe have raised a few eyebrows when my observation noted that there were a lot of clothed people at a particular naturist place, as such a critique may well do harm to the reputation of that place in naturist circles. I get that. Then from the other end of the spectrum, one reader is disquieted by the fact that I have given an implicit nod (and a web link) to places that cater to life-stylers, despite the fact that my brief remarks invariably state – “We checked it out and we don’t need to go a second time.”

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Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not kvetching!  I love a good debate, as I think that thoughtful and meaningful discussion on these matters is largely lacking on the web, with the possible exception of the expansive VivreNu forum where there always seems to be an abundance of lively discourse at hand, albeit in French!  Until we, Americans, can start grappling with some of the ethical and philosophical tenants of the naturist idea, (as opposed to the infinitely repetitive threads about pubic hair and male arousal) it seems to me that we don’t have much hope for gaining acceptance in mainstream society.  The percentage of French people who participate in naturism is actually quite low (I think I read someplace that 10-15% enjoy naturist vacations) compared to the American perception that all French people simply doff their clothes whenever the spirit moves them.  But if the topic of naturism comes up at the French dinner table, the conversation doesn’t simply dissolve into goofy jokes, blushing faces, and dismay.  Some people like to go to naturist places on vacation – that is all.

But I digress.

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Croatia

I have two more segments that will round out my 100 Naked Places project: the next installment on the Caribbean, Central and South America; and finally, places in Europe other than France, (Croatia, Greece, Spain, etc) which will include brief reflections upon our visits to the thermal spas in Austria, Germany, and Holland as well.  With sustained efforts not to undermine the efforts of those who have worked so diligently to promote the naturist cause, I plan to continue on the trajectory of simple observations like “we went to this place and had a lovely time, but when we went to that other place, the spine-tingling sensation never occurred.”  Admittedly and outrageously subjective, acknowledging that when I read a restaurant review, sometimes I will come to know the tastes of a particular reviewer, and choose the very place that reviewer has panned, as I know he and I have very little in common when it comes to gastronomical preference!  Perspective is everything, including that which is in opposition to my own.

Eden Bay

Dominican Republic

The meandering naturist and his wife have had the good fortune to travel – a lot.  It always has been, and remains an incredibly important part of our lives.  And we feel so fortunate that we were able to introduce our children to naturism when they were young, having avoided the labyrinth of keeping our naturist doings on the down low from our offspring.  This effort to represent our naturist passion in a concise telephone-book listing has been an interesting exercise for me, as I am reminded that naturism is a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  And there’s a good chance that a person who enjoys the opportunity for a naked lunch in Palm Springs may have little or no interest in swimming naked in the Adriatic.  And far be it for me to decide who visited Cap d’Agde for the beautiful nude beach, and who’s lying low in the strip club until the nightlife rolls out.  None of my business, really, except to say, “these are a few of my favorite things!”

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Crete, Greece

Thanks for reading my blog.  In the end, I hope it helps a few people find a new place to get naked, while encouraging a few more to explore their own emerging naturist passions, whatever one thinks that might mean.

You can find the first three parts of the 100 Naked Places project through the following links:

Naked Places in North America

Naked Places in Africa, Asia, and Australia

Naked Places in France

 

Visiting Ile du Levant – Naturist Paradise

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Our most recent visit to Ile du Levant, the renowned naturist island off the coast of the Côte d’Azur. A quirky, but magical place! See our other posts about Ile du Levant, including A Documentary Video about Ile du Levant, First Stop on a Naturist Odyssey, and The only people naked at lunch.

BOOK REVIEW: A Brief History of Nakedness

I stumbled into this book quite by accidentHistory of Nakedness, as I was looking for a substantive answer as to why Americans have so many hang ups when it comes to the topic of nudity.  I have wondered – for years – why so many of our friends, some of whom have all but disavowed organized religion (let alone conservative fundamentalism), are completely spooked by the concept that we have a deep passion for family naturist recreation.

“Aren’t you worried about….  you know…  stuff?!

In his Brief History of Nakedness, Philip Carr-Gomm presents a neatly organized chronology of the ever-evolving social perceptions about nudity, blowing rather effortlessly through two millennia of religious doctrine, pagan rituals, and various tangential witch hunts for naked people, all of which finally culminate in the various trends related to (in)decent exposure in the early 21st century.  It’s gets a little chewy when you’re tying to sort out the cross pollination between the religious traditions of the early Christians, Hindus, and Druids – but the fact is, that’s pretty much the score.  There are a lot of reasons why people fear nakedness; some religious, some political, some sociological – but in the end, it’s one big tangly yarn of confusion.  But I dare say, few people can actually articulate why an exposed nipple is more offensive than live footage of genocide on the 6 o’clock news.

I think the author makes a compelling and thought provoking case, based largely on centuries of what most would call political, religious, and gender-biased oppression.  It’s something of a let down that all this hoo-hah about the “nudist colony” down the road might actually come down to the fear that one man’s penis is simply locked in a power struggle with another woman’s breast, but in the end, it seems that may well be the case.

And, personally, I also appreciated that Carr-Gomm took the leap into the shark-infested waters, suggesting that there might be an element of sexuality in the realm of social nudity.  His parting shot related to the need “to see and be seen” resonated deeply with me, well documented in his writing in that he truly came to understand his research on nakedness when he, himself, engaged in social nudity.  It was perhaps the best rebuttal to the tiresome “nudity does not equate sex” banter that I have seen.  Forthright, but steeped in real perceptions of the mainstream public.  Not just the idealist doctrine inherent of “hardcore naturist propaganda.” (My words, not his!)  I’m truly grateful for those who stand up to defend our civil liberties, and the tireless efforts of groups like the Naturist Action Committee, but it worries me that despite these efforts, Americans seem to be regressing toward a level puritanical paranoia and intolerance that has turned public ideals of family naturism into sexual deviance!  The author’s matter-of-fact chronology does well in setting the stage as to how we may have painted ourselves into this corner, and how those defining moments of naked proclamation are perceived by the average person on the street.

Perhaps most intriguing of all is reading the Amazon.com reviews of the Kindle edition, which happens to be the edition I read.  Most readers commended the author for his succinct account of the evolution of the naked condition, but two or three reviewers gave the author low marks due to the fact that the Kindle edition is published without the photographs included in the printed edition.  Really?  You’re going to download a scholarly book about nudity in search of images of naked humans?  Aren’t there better options to be found on the internet for that sort of thing?  Once again, additional evidence of the very confusion and controversy that surrounds the issue in the first place.

In the end, even though I consider myself to be an educated and thoughtful (meaning one who thinks a lot) person, I found myself quite absorbed in the complexity of it all, leading me to believe that the wholesale acceptance of the naturist movement might not occur during my lifetime, or maybe… ever.  I don’t know if this means that naturists are simply a wiser breed, ahead of their time in the psycho/sociological scheme of things, or if we’re simply collective freaks of nature who will never quite find a place in mainstream culture.  But it’s rare that you see such a well written attempt to explain the entire phenomenon.  I suspect I’ll be reflecting upon Mr. Carr-Gomm’s research for a long time; in particular, every time I get naked!

One-hundred Naked Places… FRANCE!

100 places to get naked before you die

PART THREE: FRANCE

France is special!

To us, France is synonymous with family naturism.  It all began back in the early 90s when we were 20-something, had three small children, and had decided that we’d like them to grow up feeling comfortable in their own skin.  (A luxury we had not been afforded during our own adolescence or early adulthood.)  We had just begun exploring naturism for ourselves, but every time we sought out a place where it might be appropriate to take the kids along, we would stumble into a bizarre, sexual undercurrent, or – and I’m truly reticent to say this – a retirement community.

I began corresponding with a guy named Don, who was married to a French woman, who had been raised with the tradition of naturist vacations.  Don simply called it out… “I understand what you’re looking for, and you’re not going to find it on American soil.  You need to take your family to France!”

We were a double income, no discretionary spending, family of five.  Taking the kids to France for a naturist vacation was simply out of the question.  But in 1997, my wife and I scraped together enough money (and goodwill from the grandparents to watch the kids) to escape to France for two weeks, during which time we explored the famous Côte d’Azur (French Riviera), stopped by for a day visit to the legendary Cap d’Agde, and spent four nights at a naturist village called La Jenny.

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On the La Jenny beach

La Jenny was exactly that place we had imagined.  By the time we got home, I had lost contact with my cyber-friend Don, and I never had the opportunity to say, “Thanks for the tip – you were spot on!”

But in the meantime, we have been back to La Jenny about a dozen times; several times with young children, and more recently, with those same children who are now adults.  And, in fact, it turns out that La Jenny is a particularly fine and well established reflection of the naturist ideal in France.  Naturism is facing challenges in France as well; the greatest of which is preserving naturist ideals in an era when Europe has fallen victim to the perils of American culture and the prudery that comes with!  But we have yet to find so many options for recreation sans clothing as we have found in France.  An thus, this list – ever evolving – serves as the centerpiece of the 100 best places to get naked before you die.


The list for France… in alpha order

Last updated: 19 October 2016
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Aphrodite Village, Port Leucate

Southern France near Narbonne

Took an apartment here for a week back in 2007 and had a very nice stay there in a well appointed apartment near a sprawling naturist beach. The place is a bit remote, and our teenage kids were a bit lonely in that, at least during our stay, most of the other inhabitants of the village were older, and sans enfants.
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Bagheera

Corsica

We were looking for a new option on the long naturist beach near Aleria on the east coast of Corsica. This turned out to be a quirky, but excellent option. Our apartment had been recently remodeled, and faced the sea, albeit through the scrubby brush in that cover the dunes over the beach. A few peculiar rules about not being nude near the restaurant – and in fact, it seemed many staying there to the option to stay clothed. But the beach is amazing, with several naturist resorts nearby. A great place for a family naturist vacation.
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Belezy

Provence

Perhaps the largest naturist resort in Provence, nicely situated near the village of Bédoin, amidst the old Roman ruins and famous landmarks.  We stayed in one of the small apartments, (Our unit was in need of some attention, but I think that was the exception) and came to make some good friends who have invited us back for day visits over the years.  I think this place would be closer to our top shelf had our accommodations been a bit nicer during our initial stay.
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Bonnieu Plage

near Marseille

Have only had a chance to visit this beach once, early in the season when it wasn’t quite as warm outside as it looked!  The beach is in something of a desolate location, essentially in the shadow of a huge power plant; not nearly as attractive as SO many non-naturist beaches in the region.  But the French Federation for Naturism (FFN) has successfully lobbied to make this an official naturist beach where a naturist license is required for admission.  I’m guessing this has made this an excellent location for family naturism during high season, free of some of the typical hassles that have become the norm at other public naturist beaches.
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On the jetty near Cap d’Adge

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Cap d’Agde – Quartier Naturisme

near Montpellier

Where does one begin in describing what is perhaps the world’s most famous naturist place, though just what that means is open to wide interpretation.  Whatever you might be looking for, (and for many, exactly what you are not looking for!) can be found at Cap d’Adge.  We have visited twice, the second time staying for a couple nights at Hotel Eve (listed below).  With so many naturist options in France, we simply found ourselves asking, “Why?”  All a matter of preference!
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CHM Monta Camping Naturiste

Côte d’Argent, South Atlantic

Known to most by the historical name, Montalivet, this expansive naturist site on the Gironde peninsula (west and north of Bordeaux) seems to have an important role in the evolution of French naturism.  It is also the site where most of the Jock Sturges photographs were taken, which epitomize the art form of naturist photography.  A quick glance at the CHM Monta website suggests a lot of recent improvements, including a water park and new chalets. And naturist friends have sent me raves about the place that make us want to stop in and check it out in the near future.
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Domaine de la Sabliere

Provence

Inspired by a day visit years ago, we spent a week here in July of 2013.  I had always been intrigued by the story of this family-owned resort on the steep walls of the Cèze river gorge.  We had a good stay, in a simple chalet near the top of the mountain.  The campsites under the trees near the river are particularly peaceful, and the pool complex is laid out in the middle of the resort as a central meeting point for the whole community.  Many opportunities for swimming and canoeing in the river as well.   A beautiful place.   You can find our more detailed report on La Sabliere here.
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Morning explorations on Ile du Levant

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Domaine Laborde

Dordogne Valley

A very sweet little resort run by a Netherlander couple near the Dordogne Valley, one of the most remarkable regions in all of France.  The location is remote, but we enjoyed exploring the local villages and wineries of the Bergerac region during our stay.  The simple chalets provide a viable option if you are seeking naturist accommodations while exploring the Dordogne.
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Domaine Naturiste Arnaoutchat

Côte d’Argent, South Atlantic

Have been reading about this place for years, and have always been intrigued by the indoor-outdoor pool complex, as the weather can be unpredictable on the south Atlantic even at the height of summer.  Perhaps we can manage a day visit this summer (2014). It is known as one of the four big naturist resorts on the Côte d’Argent on the west coast of southern France.  Well situated for a day trip to the northern coast of Spain.
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Euronat

Côte d’Argent, South Atlantic

I’m thinking Euronat is the largest (in terms of capacity) of the four major naturist resorts on the south Atlantic coast of France.  We made a day visit years ago during a stay at La Jenny.  Many options for camping, and various possibilities for rented chalets, and we were drawn to the little village square with all the amenities one could hope for.   As we didn’t have overnight accommodations, there was an extra fee to use the pool complex, which was set off a bit from the central part of the village.  That, along the sheer expanse of the place, resulted in a different ambiance than we’ve enjoyed at some other naturist centers, but we know that for many, the place is Eden in perfection.

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Heliotel, Ile du Levant

Côte d’Azur – South of France

Our first stay at Heliotel was in 2006, and then again in 2013 when the property was under new management.  Given the amenities, the attentive management team, and the location, it is difficult to imagine there is a better option to be had on this naturist island off the Côte d’Azur of Provence.  Recent renovations included the installation of air conditioning units, which is a serious upgrade given the still air and abundance of mosquitoes on hot summer nights.  It you want to do it right on Ile du Levant, this is the place!  You can read our trip report from 2013 here.
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Hotel Eve – Cap d’Agde

near Montpellier

If you read my previous review of the naturist village known as Cap d’Agde, you already know we have mixed feelings about the naked city of France, but that said, we had a very nice visit (many years ago) at Hotel Eve.  The rooms were simple and small, but the ambiance was quiet and peaceful in a town that is renowned for its party atmosphere.  They have a new website now, and a bit more competition, so things could have changed in recent years, but our stay was very pleasant.
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On La Jenny beach

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La Brise Marine Hotel, Ile du Levant

Côte d’Azur – South of France

We have only stayed once at La Brise Marine Hotel, in 2011 with our two young adult daughters.  Had I been a bit more meticulous in reading reviews and such, I would have learned before our arrival that the property has something of a reputation among the “libertines.”  (Look it up!)  While that activity was fairly subtle during our stay, it was certainly noticeable; and that, along with the mosquito infestation caused us to forfeit the last night of our stay at our own cost.  Maybe we simply fell victim to bad timing, but in this case…  no.

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La Chiappa Naturist Village

Corsica

A stunning location on the southern end of Corsica, with simple bungalows and many options for camping.  There have been several upgrades since our last visit in 2006, but even then, we thought it was a wonderful resort in a perfect location, with a beautiful seaside pool and opportunities for beach-combing au natural.  Seems to me to be the best option for naturism on Corsica as of this writing.

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La Jenny Naturist Resort

Côte d’Argent – South Atlantic

For many years, La Jenny has been our ‘gold standard’ for family naturism.  (See our most recent trip report here.)  As with all the Atlantic coast resorts, the main variable is the weather, as an entire week in the middle of July can disintegrate into monsoon season, at which point, the otherwise comfortable chalets begin feeling a bit cramped.  That said, we love the ambiance in the village, at the pool, and the various options for self-catering cabins in the pine forest near the sea.  Were it not for La Jenny, I suspect our children (now adults) would have dismissed the virtues of naturism long ago!  Merci beaucoup, La Jenny!

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La Layet Plage

Côte d’Azur – South of France

Have only visited once quite a few years ago, but of all the naturist beaches we’ve visited within driving distance of central Provence, this one gets our vote!  Convivial crowd, sandy beach, and as I recall, even a small concession to cater to the local naturists.
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Natural beauty at U-Furu

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Le Bau Rouge

Côte d’Azur – South of France

This was our first stop during one of our exploratory expeditions of naturist France in 2004.  We arrived late in the day, feeling a bit vulnerable in this remote location while two other male naturists lingered nearby.  That said, it is a remarkable spot for a picnic on the Calanques between Toulon and Marseille.  Probably better not to go alone…
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Le Couderc Naturiste Camping

Dordogne

Another naturist option near the Dordogne that has been on my list for a long time, but we’ve never quite made our way there!  Their website suggests a warm, family environment, and there are several options for self-catering rentals.  We will eventually add this to our “been there, done that” list, if only for its proximity to the Dordogne.
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La Gecko, Ile du Levant

Côte d’Azur – South of France

Enjoyed a excellent naked lunch on their veranda one day, which led us back to inquire for a brief stay in one of their simple – but air-conditioned (!) – rooms.  That, along with the small pool are necessities in the heat of the Levantine summers. Our room was very small, but more than adequate for our needs, with a small fridge and some basic utensils.  It was also evident they had redone the bathroom in recent years.  The whole place has a decidedly rustic feel, but it is an excellent option for the price.  And again, we thought the restaurant was worth a return visit simply on it’s own merit.
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Exploring near La Chiappa in Corsica

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Mas de la Balma

near Perpignan

Just a short distance from the Spanish border near Perpignan, this looks like a great place for a naked walk in the woods, or skinny-dipping in the nearby waterfalls.  They are only open during the summer months, and I think the options are limited beyond camping, but it looks like a beautiful place.
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MessidOr

Provence

A naturist campground located about half way between Avignon and Aix-en-Provence.  During our visit in June, they had a lot of campers from the Netherdlands, mostly in caravans, along with a few in rented “mobile home type” chalets.  There’s a fairly new clubhouse with a restaurant and a bar that had a very pleasant vibe.  The pool area is showing age, that would give the term rustic a run for it’s money.  But if you’re looking for a naturist place to stay in the heart of Provence, you could hardly do better.  Location, location, location!  It’s worth noting that it’s a family run place, and we felt immediately welcome and at ease, despite my marginal ability in speaking French.

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Origan Village Naturiste

Côte d’Azur – South of France

We have stayed twice at Origan Village; once in 2004, then again in 2013.  We think it’s a remarkable place, with various options for lodging, and a stunning naturist trail that provides a morning workout, walking naked along the mountain ridges of the lower Alps above Nice.  The restaurant and pool complex are lovely as well.  You can find our additional musings from our experience at Origan Village here.
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Oz’Inn, Cap d’Agde

near Montpellier

Apparently, it’s quite difficult to find the space and resources to open a naturist hotel in the famous French village of Cap d’Agde.  And it’s at least as difficult to determine what clientele a particular hotel is catering to!  This appears to be a luxury property (priced accordingly) in a village where there are few options available for less than a week at a time.  Given the price, I don’t know that we’ll ever get there, but the website is intriguing, nonetheless.
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Palieter Camping Naturiste

Normandy

We were determined to be naturists while exploring Normandy, which predictably enough – even in June – proved to be something of a lost cause as the weather was rainy and cold during our stay, and we opted for the protection of textile living during our stay at Palieter.  At the time, around 2006, the site was run by a Netherlander family.  They were incredibly welcoming, and most apologetic about the fact that in the north of France, it rains…  a lot!
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Plage des Grottes, Ile du Levant

Côte d’Azur – South of France

A small beach that is a bit removed from the neighboring village on Ile du Levant.  Ironically, you can walk from the village without clothing, and once past the port, you are “required” to be naked on the path to the beach, but you have to cover up as you cross the port as you might be seen by somebody on the ferry bound for the next island.  The beach is small, and a bit rocky, but peaceful and lovely.  Not worth a trip to the island for the beach by itself, but if you stay a couple nights and enjoy the local cuisine, it’s well worth the trouble!
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Walking the trail above Origan Village

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Residence L’escapade, Ile du Levant

Côte d’Azur – South of France

We have walked past L’escapade many times.  It appears to be a simple place with a nice pool, and reasonably priced.  Their website is not so accommodating for those who don’t speak French, but given the price, the location, and the pool, it seems like a good risk.  We will eventually get there one day.
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Riva Bella Naturiste

Corsica

Riva Bella is something of an anomaly in the France4Naturisme consortium.  We stayed there in 2006, in a small beach-side cabin with a water heater only a bit larger than a beer can, and an indoor/outdoor kitchen that sometimes felt luxurious, and at other times, felt like an expensive alternative to camping.  The beach connects to several other naturist properties, providing the opportunity for long, naked walks in the surf.  But it all feels a bit rustic and remote, even for a naturist resort on a remote Mediterranean island.
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Freedom on Ile du Levant

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Tahiti Plage

Corsica

As far as I can tell, there are only two ways to get to Tahiti Plage; rent a boat, or go to La Chiappa Naturist Resort, drop your clothes, and walk the thirty minute seaside path to the idyllic little beach with turquoise waters. We found a great mix of people there, including textiles – but nobody seemed to mind the others. The water was gorgeous, calm, and clear, and the near by snack bar was great for lunch – though they did require a minimal amount of clothing. If I lived on Corsica, I’d be there every weekend!

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U-Furu espace naturel préservé

Corsica

We have been to U-Furu twice; both times, for day visits.  There are little stone cottages available to rent (in addition to camping) which seem to be quite well appointed, but given the location, I don’t know that I would spend a week there.  But the best part of U-Furu is the trail that leads up a small gorge with a series of significant waterfalls – depending, of course, on recent rainfall and runoff.  Our first visit there was absolutely magical, which generated several of the photos for this blog.  It’s off the beaten track, but well worth the journey if you enjoy naturism in a truly natural setting!

As in the previous two installments of the 100 Places project, I offer once more….

OUR UNAPOLOGETIC AND CANDID GUIDE TO 100 NAKED PLACES

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= been there, and we’re dying to go back!

Illustration+of+the+sun+with+clouds= an interesting place, but not on our top shelf

Raincould= been there, bought the postcard, but it’s just not our thing!

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= On our list to get there someday before we die

GALLERY: Naturism in France, Volume ONE

GALLERY: Naturism in France, Volume TWO

SEE ALSO:

Naked Places in North America

Naked Places in Africa, Asia, and Australia

 COMING SOON: Naked Places in the Caribbean and Naked Places (everywhere else) in Europe

 

Crazy guy on a bike.

I don’t usually “repost,” but I thought this blog to be particularly interesting, mainly due to the fact that this guy is replicating our efforts to cross an entire continent in search of naturist friends and naked friendly places – but in this case, on a bicycle!  WOW!

What I’m hoping is that you’ll join me, at least figuratively. There aren’t many naturist clubs or campgrounds in America, not given the population and the size of the place, but I’ve found several on my route from Washington to San Francisco. And once I get to the Rockies after Pueblo, there’s a waterfall of hot springs, most of them described in that coy American way as “clothing optional”. I intend to douse myself in all of them.

Click through to read the rest of this post, and other musings about his journey.