Our First Naturist Holiday

Our first naturist family Holiday was in summer of 1981. Being newcomers to social nudity through our recent membership of INA, it was a daunting exercise to arrange such a holiday. Since public nudity was still a serious offence in Ireland there was no travel agency for such holidays.

Having secured a copy of H&E from a newspaper vendor in O’Connell St, Dublin, I was able to get information on a Naturist Holiday Centre in France called Cap D’Agde.

Now how do we get there? First step was to write to a naturist holiday company in UK. After a few exchanges of mail I booked an apartment in Heliopolis, Cap D’Agde. Next step was to book ferry to Le Harve for myself, Mary and 3 young children. Then we bought train tickets from CIE International. There used to be an office in O’Connell St if memory serves me right. I’m sure not many reading this will remember Greenshield stamps. Well, back then some outlets gave out Greenshield stamps with purchases and as we had some we exchanged them for a really nice beach umbrella in the Greenshield stamp shop in Mary St. Being uncultured Irish we thought this was a great idea so we carried it on the boat, trains, bus etc all the way to Cap D’ Adge only to discovered they could be purchased on site for very few francs!

Finally the time to travel came, we drove to Rosslare and parked the car at a relative’s house a few hundred yards from the ferry port. Our relative was amazed that apart from the beach brolly we only had one roll bag for all 5 of us. She expected us to have several suitcases for 2 weeks in France. The boat journey was very enjoyable with entertainment, cinema, shops etc. Kids had a ball. Then we arrived Le Harve, and not knowing where the train station was to Paris we simply followed the crowd. This worked and soon we were on the way to Gare Du Nord in Paris. We had a full afternoon before catching the train south so we had a little look around and a bite to eat. Not having any French was a bit of a problem ordering so I referred to the translation book which was a slow method. (We didn’t have the advantage of internet, mobile phones or such back then).

Next step was to get a taxi to the train south. I pointed the station out to the taxi driver and off we went. Small problem at the station; the driver was insisting on paying more than was on the meter. After a few minutes arguing I noticed a French policeman standing nearby so I indicated that I would call him to sort it out. At this point the driver muttered something in French and jumped back in his car and drove off. (I’m pretty sure he was welcoming us to France and saying he hoped we had a pleasant holiday)

Having entered the station and looking at the screens it looked like we had a bigger problem. I spoke to a person at the service desk and showed them my train tickets and was informed we were in the wrong station and we should go to Gare Du Sud. Straight outside and another taxi. This driver was a coloured person and spoke English. He said he had studied in Trinity College in Dublin. He was very friendly and gave us a lot of directions re the platform etc and charged exactly what was on the meter.

We finally got on to the train and looked for a free carriage and found a nice one. Just as the train was departing a rather mature lady entered the carriage carrying a small dog and accompanied by what looked like a toy boy in tow. She started to shout at us in a loud voice and pointed to a name over the carriage. We had unknowingly taken up residence in an already booked carriage. Now with the train moving and already full for the overnight trip south we had to scramble looking for seats elsewhere. Eventually we found a carriage with about 3 seats. We indicated if this was OK to use and it seemed OK. Mary and 2 of the kids sat with the smallest on Mary’s lap. I stood for a while then some passengers pushed up so I could sit.

When the inspector came around and looked at the tickets he’s broke into English and said how he loved Ireland. (Wow, 2 nice people in one day). Then a French girl took the younger child from Mary and kept him on her lap until she got off at Lyon. Now the journey became more comfortable.

About 8am next morning we arrived in the town of D’Agde. We found a small cafe and had some breakfast. Next was to find the bus to the naturist centre. We were surprised that the bus drove into the centre with many people going about their business totally naked. The other passengers were having a ball looking at all the naked people. We were the only one alighting from the bus and got some funny looks from some of the passengers.

It was very hot so we immediately removed our clothes and found the Oltra checking area. Soon we were in a very nice apartment in Heliopolis overlooking the site and the sea. Now we could relax and the holiday begins.

For the next 14 days we were naked and enjoyed the beach, pools, sea, and shopping for groceries etc without clothes. We were in paradise and loved every minute of it. Because we had children we didn’t go for evening entertainment but had refreshments sitting out on the balcony – a few glasses of vino when the children were gone to bed.

At this time Cap D’Agde was in its prime as a naturist destination. Nothing seedy, just pure naturism all round. Our lads made friends with other children of similar ages while there were many English people on holiday so language wasn’t a problem.

The journey home was uneventful except for one incident. It turned out that the line to Le Harve station was out so we had to leave the train and walk to the buses provided to take us to the station. We were a little confused as the announcements were in French. When the last passengers alighted we followed suit to the busses. In Le Harve station it was Sunday morn and seemed somehow very quiet with a lot of down and outs sitting around. We had packed a lunch of sandwiches but when we opened the pack we were stared at by some hungry men. So we decided to share what we could with a few of them. At least we left behind a few happy faces.

Well, that’s the story of our first adventure into the world of naturist holidays.

Pat and Mary

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