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Frequently asked questions

Naturism is a modern movement which advocates self-respect, and respect for others and for nature.

What is naturism?

Above all, it is about self-respect and respect for others! Naturism advocates respect for everyone, for their differences and for their uniqueness. Communal nudity allows us to accept our bodies, with their strengths and their weaknesses.

It is a true means of returning to our roots. Away from the stresses of daily life, the body is liberated, the mind is opened and it seeks to become one with nature. Very naturally, each person contributes to maintaining the calm and cleanliness of their environment.

There is a sense of community, as family and friends are an important part of naturalist holidays.

What are the origins of naturism?

In France, the term “naturism” was used for the first time in 1778 by a man named Planchon, in a book advocating a better lifestyle by observing the laws of Nature. However, it was in the twenties that naturism really took off, driven by public health officers encouraging a healthier way of life. The naturist movement was officially recognised in the late 1930s, by Léo Lagrange. The first naturist resort in Europe opened in France in 1950, in Gironde.
The movement later become more structured, via a National Federation (FFN), an International Federation (FNI) and the development of naturist clubs, associations and holiday centres.

What are the benefits of naturism?

Naturism brings an undeniable sense of well-being through direct contact with natural elements, especially air or water on the skin.

It’s about being be at ease with yourself, in order to be at ease with others, in a well-conserved and maintained natural holiday setting.

What is the difference between nudism and naturism?

Nudism is simply the act of not wearing any clothes or bathing nude. Naturism goes further than nudism as it is a specific behavioural approach. Naturists stay close to nature and seek out a healthy lifestyle in a well-preserved natural environment.

Can we be nude anywhere in France?

Public nudity is forbidden and may be subject to prosecution. However, the legislation states that: “The criminalisation of nudity has been formulated in such a way as to reduce the likelihood of persons being prosecuted who are engaging in naturism in places especially designated for this purpose.”
So in order to live freely and happily as a naturalist, you just need to visit authorised naturalist sites! This applies to beaches which have been recognised by prefectoral or municipal order.

Do you always have to be nude in naturist campsite/resorts?

Certainly, naturists prefer to be nude, but will get dressed if necessary. Wearing clothes is tolerated in holiday centres under certain circumstances (bad weather conditions in particular) or to practise certain sporting activities.

Naturists believe that clothes are not designed to hide the body.
Rules on wearing clothes can vary from resort to resort but nudity is generally expected if the temperature allows and it is obligatory around swimming pools and other bathing areas.
It is best to check with each campsite/resort to find out its nudity policy.

What is the difference between a naturist campsite/resort and a nudist beach?

France has 5,500 km of coastline. Wearing swimming costumes is not obligatory on nudist beaches (or open beaches). There are two types of nudist beach:
- Nudist beaches recognised by the local authorities (either prefectoral or municipal authorisation).
- Beaches which become nudist as they are mainly frequented by nudists (tolerance).
Naturist campsite/resorts are privately owned land. Just like non-naturist campsites, they offer a range of cultural, sports and well-being activities, childcare (even for infants), clubs for teenagers, a catering service, a mini-market, etc. All naturist campsite/resorts have a naturist bathing area: beach, river, swimming pool, etc. Water is an essential component of well-being!

To obtain the list of authorised nudist beaches, visit the Fédération Française du Naturisme (FFN) website.

Do you need a naturist licence in France?

In France, a licence (granted by the Fédération Française du Naturisme or the Fédération Internationale du Naturisme) used to be required to participate in the activities of a club and to have access to certain activities (swimming pools, saunas and gyms for example), interclub activities and authorised holiday centres across the world, and to join other clubs on a trial basis.

Since 2001, it is no longer compulsory in the majority of French naturist campsite/resorts. However, once again, it is best to enquire at each campsite/resorts before a trip to find out if a licence is needed or not (campsite/resorts that require a licence will specify on their website).

Can we bring children to a naturist campsite/resorts?

Of course! Naturism highlights the importance of a healthy and natural family atmosphere. Families account for 80 % of the naturist customer base.

Nudity promotes child development, increasing awareness and understanding of the body and enabling the child to accept its transformations more easily.

It allows children to be more accepting of themselves as they are, increases their respect for others and raises awareness from early on of the importance of caring for the environment, which are all naturist principles.
In addition, great care and attention is paid by the resort’s managers to welcoming and respecting children.

What type of people visit naturist campsite/resorts?

All socio-professional categories are represented in the resorts, which are also host to an extensive foreign customer base, of all nationalities.

Can a single person visit a naturist campsite/resorts?

Holiday centres mainly host couples and families (and accompanying single people). Some campsite/resorts accept single people, alone, but they are usually required to present a naturist licence.

Are all saunas naturist in France?

No! In fact, naturist saunas are the exception, not the norm. In France, you need to cover up to enter a sauna (swimming costume or towel).

If you are looking for a naturist sauna, it is easiest to find a sauna in a naturist campsite/resorts (on the campsite or land of a naturist association) or you can ask a sauna if it offers a special timetable for naturists.

More information:

Fédération Française de Naturisme

© Naturism in France 2014 -