The south of France has a longstanding association with nudist beaches, and they are well looked after by the French Federation of Naturism. Here’s our list on the best, offering enough choice for everyone.
In recent years there has been a boom in naturism in France. Rather than having sexual overtones, enthusiasts see it as a way to experience freedom and empowerment in their lives. The south of France is an ideal place to practice naturism because it has hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches and of course, a wonderfully sunny climate!
Just off the coast of Hyères, there is a group of islands in the Mediterranean (the Hyères Islands), and on one of these, the Île de Levant, there is a beach called the Plage des Grottes. The beach has been popular with naturists since the 1930s. It’s a quiet, calm, small island which happily takes pride in its naturism. There are also a few restaurants and bars to discover.
The Cap d’Agde is a popular holiday resort near the town of Agde (which is further inland from the Cape). It is just south of the city of Montpellier and boasts over 22km of sandy beaches. The resort has been around since the 1960s and is still bustling each summer, with holidaymakers heading to the many beaches that wrap around the peninsula, a number of which welcome nudists. Part of the resort has a naturist area which is one of the best equipped in the region, including a hotel (Hotel Eve). It’s probably best to leave the kids at home as the resort has a wild reputation! For those flying, the Béziers Cap d’Agde Airport handily serves the resort, with an airport shuttle bus connecting the two after each flight.
A list of nudist beaches in the south of France wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Tahiti beach in St Tropez. It’s in a corner of the iconic Pampelonne Beach where Allied Forces landed on 15 August 1944, nearing the end of World War II and where Brigitte Bardot made herself and St Tropez famous in the 1950s when she starred in the film And God Created Woman. Up to this point people had always worn swimsuits on the beach, but as part of the wider counterculture in the 1960s they began to discard their clothes here, to feel liberated. After several tussles with the police, they were allowed to stay and today it is one of the most well known nudist beaches in the world. There is a beach club here and a restaurant, both of which are pricey so many people choose to bring a picnic.
Just outside Perpignan, you’ll find the naturist resort of Oasis Village. There are lots of different sized apartments you can rent within the resort (and some you can buy), and they are all serviced by shops, restaurants and bars. Oasis Village is family-friendly and there are activities such as windsurfing, sailing (the resort has its own marina) and tennis. The area is also very quiet and peaceful, especially in the evenings.
Widely regarded as one of the most lovely naturist beaches in the south of France, Plage Naturiste du Saint-Selon, with its turquoise water, is certainly beautiful. The beach is near the town of La Seyne-sur-Mer and there are places to park along the coast road (Corniche Varoise). Access to the beach is difficult – there are steep steps – but the journey is well worth the effort. It will take you about 15 minutes to get down to the beach from the road, but much longer to trek back up. There are also no facilities, so make sure you take everything you need with you.