I have written quite a lot about Ile du Levant over the years, since our first visit here roughly ten years ago. That was a weird day, at best. Trying to figure out what this little island community was about, or more specifically, what were the known and unspoken rules regarding nudity in this naturist haven.
Last year, we brought long time (non-naturist) friends to the island to experience the tranquility and freedom of the clothing optional experience. They bought in 100%, but had a lot of questions, such as, “If this is a nudist island, why are so many people wearing clothes?” “And what’s with the regulations that require clothing in the town square?” My friend was an outsider trying to make sense of it all, without the luxury of having a history of wallowing through the infinite abyss of naturist message boards about erections and pubic hair.
This year, however, there is a noticeable difference. The website for the island has been updated, as well as the corresponding brochure with a map that shows where one can and cannot be naked. And guess what? The new map shows the main square as a naturist friendly area. That’s sort of a big deal, as it seems this has been a point of contention in the village for quite a long time, which has led to numerous demonstrations by the townspeople who have insisted that nudity should be accepted in the center of the naturist village.
Seems so simple – but social nudity never really is.
All the while, there seems to be a greater tolerance for nudity in the restaurants on the island as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure our beloved little inn, Heliotel, used to require clothing during the evening meal, but alas – no more. “Come as you wish.” And at least half the clients choose to come naked. And that seems to be trending in other establishments on the island as well.
In fact, the publicity materials now refer to the island as a naturist resort, which it really is not. It’s a town, on an island, where nudity is accepted – or not. But it seems the locals are stepping up the game to make it a destination worth the 30-minute boat ride from the mainland. A small price to pay for a few days of naked nirvana.
Is it still a bit difficult for a foreigner to figure it out? Yes, perhaps. But less so if that person decides to spend a couple nights in a local hotel or gite to experience the village after the day-trippers have gone home on the 5:00 pm ferry. But isn’t that how it works everywhere? People don’t want you to visit as gawking tourists, but instead, as members of the community who actually care about the ideals that hold that community together.
I think this is all good news for this little island off the Cote d’Azur. And also an indication that we’d better make reservations for next year sooner than later, as things are likely to get busy around here.
Good news for naked people everywhere.