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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!