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 Why is naturism developing in France?


Naturism: a genuinely original philosophy

Naturism advocates respect, sharing and freedom – concepts and values more and more holiday goers are subscribing to. Living a healthy life, self-respecting, respecting others and the environment – these values are widely shared by a majority of people.

They have been at the core of naturist philosophy for over 50 years in France. It tends to be developing even more due to our societies’ evolution, in which consumerism and selfishness are losing ground in front of these respectful, generous values.


A constantly evolving situation

Naturism was born in Germany in the XIXth century. It surfaced a few years later, at the turn of the XXth century, in France. During many years, it was only practiced by a few. It was only after the end of WWII, at the initiative of the Lecocq couple, that it gained some popularity. They created CHM Vendays-Montalivet in 1949 – it remains one of the most famous French naturist sites to this day.

The 1960s and 1970s can be considered naturism’s golden era. Liberation of morals, emancipation and empowerment of women, development of paid holidays helped naturism assert itself as a new way of life… and a new holiday alternative. Many naturist sites were created during this period such as Héliomonde (in 1961) and Euronat (in 1974), still 2 of the biggest ones to this day.

During the following decades, the several sites were very active and striving to promote naturist values and practices. No matter how much they tried, the 2000s were marked by a decline – early years naturists were getting older and the sites had a hard time getting in touch with the new generation. Renewal was difficult to achieve but it as mandatory for the movement’s viability.

After years of advertising and promotion, the players of French naturism finally succeeded in reaching new targets and customers – young couples, families with children etc. They did so creating a link with early activists and with the movement’s original values.

Today, there are no less than 350 naturist sites disseminated all over France.


Who are the « new » naturists?

Is it due to a new-found taste for a way of life that goes against consumerism, superficiality or simply a search for well-being and to get in touch with Mother Nature? Whatever the real reason, the young generations are returning to naturist sites and associations, particularly during school holidays. New types of customers lead to new practices and habits.

The so-called healthy movement is trending on social networks, mostly Instagram, Twitter or Youtube. Switching to healthier eating habits, practicing sports or a physical activity… and letting others know about it has become a motto for many among us. Practicing naturism is definitely part of this new trend.

Naturist holiday makers understood that very well. They managed to adapt their offer to this new type of clientele. All the campsites of the France 4 naturism chain have a spa and balneotherapy centre for instance. They rent high-standard and cosy accommodation. The site’s natural environment and gardens have turned into a major issue for naturist campsites owners and managers.

Naked hiking, painting workshops, yoga and cooking classes – activities have become many and diverse in order to meet with these new customers’ expectations and requirements.


Naturism in France today – a few numbers

2.6 million people – that’s the number of people that practice naturism on a regular basis according to a study by France 4 Naturisme chain (in 2016). Over 13 million people even say they occasionally practice it – 1 French out of 5!

According to this same study, 14% of French naturists are less than 40. In 2017, nearly 27% of France 4 naturisme’s customers had never stayed at a chain’s site before – this is proof of a deep generation renewal.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that 33% of France 4’s customers are executives and 19% of households earn over €5 000 €/month.

Source : France 4 Naturisme.

 
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