As I write, the sun is shining and the weather forecast is for a beautiful summer’s day. I won’t be able to enjoy any of it as, for the first time in my adult life, I am in hospital suffering from a very painful knee infection. As I wait to be called to theatre for my second operation I let my mind drift to my mental happy place and I relax a little.
That happy place of mine is called Euronat, a beautiful naturist resort on the southwest coast of France. I first discovered it more than 30 years ago. My brother had spotted it while camping nearby the previous year and, knowing that I had recently joined INA, he invited me to come to France with him and his family so that I could see Euronat for myself.
I can still remember my excitement and trepidation as I walked into the reception and handed in my passport and my INF card. When the clerk saw my Irish passport, he said to his colleague “He’s Irish” then stood up, shook my hand and welcomed me to Euronat. I was then taken to my pitch and I set up my tent. I was perfectly content as I explored my surroundings. I knew that I had found my happy place.
Euronat (www.euronat.fr) is a fully fledged 750 hectare naturist resort, set in a large pine forest. Unless you chose to leave it, you can spend your entire holiday there. There is a commercial centre with shops, including a bakery, 2 supermarkets, restaurants, bars and snack bars. In those years before ATMs and the Euro there was even a bank there and I took great delight in walking in nude to change my travellers’ cheques! There is a wide range of activities, mostly free, for all ages and of course indoor and outdoor heated pools. There is a superb beach, dotted with old World War II gun emplacements now sinking into the sand, where it’s possible to walk nude for miles.
Being able to enjoy a naturist holiday in a naturist resort, with hundreds of other naturists, is heaven and is uniquely relaxing. I enjoyed my first holiday so much that I knew that I would be back. By my time of my third visit I had met, through the INA, a wonderful girl who had seen naturism first-hand a few years previously with her former French boyfriend in the nearby naturist resort of CHM Montalivet and had loved the experience. She too fell in love with Euronat. Fast forward a few years to the late noughties and we were now married with 3 small children. We had taken textile package holidays with visits to naturist beaches in the intervening years but we felt that it was time to return to Euronat. The biggest change we saw since our last visit was that a part of the large camping area had been replaced by modern well-appointed mobile homes.
As we enjoyed our holiday the possibility of buying our own place in Euronat began to form in our minds. We loved everything about the site, not least for its strong emphasis on family naturism. We looked at studios and chalets but they were too expensive and we were not willing to take out another mortgage. When the financial crash happened the following year we were very glad that we had made that decision! We eventually decided to buy a new 3 bedroomed fully equipped mobile home. The make and model was, I kid you not, “Le O’Hara O’Tiny Mobilehome”!
We have never regretted our decision to buy. Our mobile home has given us many happy family holidays over the years and we hope to have many more holidays there in the years to come. As far as we are concerned, we are having our cake and eating it! Having our own place there means that when we arrive it’s home from home. It’s our little bit of paradise and we never tire of it. The area around Euronat is wonderful, typical rural France, with sleepy villages, vineyards and beautiful chateaux.
Making a decision to buy a property, especially in a naturist resort, is a big one and needs to be thought out carefully. Unlike buying a house or chalet, buying a mobile home means that you are buying only the mobile, not the land under it – you rent the pitch it is on from the site owners. Costs can be substantial and above all it’s important to be sure that you have chosen the right location. Over the years we visited a number of other excellent French sites but we always felt that Euronat ticked all the boxes for us.
And of course you cannot visit France without sampling the local wine. Our local Cave (the French equivalent of an off licence) sells very drinkable bulk local table wine for €3 per litre. You can of course pay much more but a rough rule of thumb is that a quality wine will cost about half of what it costs in Ireland. Yet you should never judge a bottle of wine by its label. I spotted this wine, and was of course intrigued by the label. I brought 2 bottles home to open at Christmas. Unlike Euronat it was overpriced, lacking in taste and very disappointing!