Want to go naked on a beach? Or are you a naturist and want the whole experience of shopping, swimming, and dining without your clothes on?
Spain might be the most popular country in European surveys for naked bathing beaches, but without a doubt, France, with the longest tradition, has the very best smart and stylish naturist resorts. And France has the coastline and the weather. So it’s not surprising that some of the world’s most popular nudist spots are in southern France.
It’s all very well organized as well, so don’t worry if you’re a bit nervous about venturing into this naturist haven. The French Federation of Naturism officially recognizes and checks the many naturist campsites while official youth organizations do the same.
You’ll also find a lot of nude beaches in France. All along the coastline on designated nude beaches as well as in secluded places and on the little islands away from the mainland, people strip off completely. So don’t be surprised when you’re looking for your own small piece of paradise.
Where to Go
The Atlantic Coast
The naturist resorts run along the stretch of the Gironde between the mouth of the Gironde river, past the Bay d’Arcachon and down towards the glamorous resort of Biarritz.
It’s a beautiful area of huge pine forests, with Bordeaux as its main city. Bordeaux has in the last few years been renovated; today it's one of the most popular cities in France. So there’s lots of sightseeing if you can bear to be parted from your little haven among the sweet-smelling trees or your towel on the glorious beaches.
There are four well-known naturist resorts along this huge stretch of sandy beaches, which almost amounts to one great naked resort. The places to try are Montalivet where the world’s first naturist resort was founded, at Grayan-l'Hôpital, le Porge, and Vieille Saint Girons. All the resorts are family friendly, well run and organized and with enough facilities so you don’t need to put a stitch on, unless you choose to, during the whole of your holiday.
Languedoc-Roussillon is another wonderful area for nude beaches and naturist resorts. Like the west coast of France, the weather is great and the scenery is beautiful.
The coast runs from Montpellier past Narbonne down to Perpignan. In the southern part, there are several naturist holiday centers south of the little resort of Leucate. On a narrow strip of land, to the west, they look out to the sparkling Mediterranean; to the east towards the huge salt lagoon. These are family-friendly resorts, with none of the rather more erotic dress and feel of the most famous naturist resort of all, Cap d’Agde.
Located just 22 miles north of Perpignan, Village Naturiste Aphrodite is a family-friendly naturist resort. It's quiet (no discos at night) and has good cabin accommodation.
There's a delightful Mediterranean garden, plus lots of sports activities from tennis to windsurfing, and it has its own marina.
Cap d'Agde is set on a small spur of land west of Beziers and south of Montpellier. It’s the best-known naturist resort in France, possibly in Europe. It’s large, with a whole village where you can shop naked, use the bank without any clothes on, and take to the naked lifestyle big time. It can be more risqué and erotic than the other quieter resorts, and it’s more adult orientated. There’s also a good beach on the bay. The whole resort is very well organized and good fun and many people come back year after year.
You can also stay at the Hotel Eve, the only hotel in the resort. It's been refurbished and though it's only a 3-star hotel, is now smart and comfortable.
Ile de Levant
Further, around the coast beyond Marseille, you’ll come across the small Ile de Levant. Just near Toulon, this is part of the group of islands called the Iles d’Hyères. The first naturist village was established here, way back in the 1930s. Today it’s a quiet small island with the Plage des Grottes designated as a nude beach where you must take off your clothes.
You can’t talk about nudity on the Mediterranean without the mention of St. Tropez and its renowned Tahiti Plage. Made famous, and infamous, in the 1960s by Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez quickly became the place to bare all. It may have been overtaken by other places, but it still has a lot of glitz and glamor. And what’s wrong with that?