The Provence-Alpes-Côte province in the south of France is not just one of the most visited spots of the country for its amazing nature, food, and drinks. We found out that it’s also an excellent place for naturist vacations. So much that we had to split our overview into two parts. Last week you could read about how we got naked in the French Alps, the eastern part of the region. This week we’re slowly driving down again. We’ll exchange high peaks and pine forests for rolling hills covered with lavender and sunflower fields.
The lower Provence may not have the spectacular views to offer, the natural beauty is definitely also worth to be seen. And then we haven’t said anything yet about the naturist options. There is something for everyone, that much is sure. Welcome to Provence!
Peace and quiet at Le Petit Arlane
Although we definitely believe that first impressions are important, in the case of Le Petit Arlane our first impression was a bit…meh. After driving through endless purple lavender fields, we ended up on a dirt road that brought us to a reception building that had seen better times. We wondered why we had picked this place and figured that we probably wouldn’t be staying for very long. We ended up staying longer than we initially expected.
The magic of Le Petit Arlane is not something that appears at first sight. Maybe we had been spoiled by the breathtaking views of the Alps, the weeks before. It doesn’t take very long, however, to realize that Le Petit Arlane has a soul. The moment we had put down our tent next to the lake and had served ourselves a glass of wine, we dropped silent. We looked over the water and listened to nature. From one moment to another, we felt complete rest. We became zen.
This is what we loved at Le Petit Arlane. It’s a no-nonsense place. They don’t have a chic restaurant but still serve good and affordable food. They don’t have the world’s largest pool but still a pretty great one. The views may not be as spectacular as in the Alps, but the peace and quiet that we found during the many hours when we sat at our lakeside spot are the main reason why we will definitely come back one day.
Our “zen-mood” quickly shifted a couple of levels back once we arrived at Les Lauzons. This naturist campsite in the center of the Provence region totally focuses on families and arriving there in the heat of the high season, that’s exactly what we found. Luckily, Les Lauzons is also quite a large campsite, with lots of spots to escape the busy areas and find yourself some shade where you can laze the day away.
If you’re traveling with the family, we can easily understand why you’ll love Les Lauzons. The two big swimming pools with a couple of cool slides are a great way to keep your offspring busy and the rest of the time they’ll be entertained through the many activities. Because families attract other families, your kids will easily make friends. We’ve seen several gangs of teenagers, kids, and toddlers wandering around as if they owned the place. Well, they kinda did if you ask us.
✅ Why go: If you’re looking for a fun naturist resort for the whole family. ❌ Why not go: If you’d like to spend your days in all peace and quietness. ➡️ Read more on the Les Lauzons website.
Dutch hospitality at Le Vallon des Oiseaux
One thing that did surprise us during this big nude camping trip through France, is the number of naturist campsites that have Dutch owners. We already knew that naturism is big in the Netherlands and that some Dutch naturists migrated to warmer places to start their own nude paradise. We just never realized that there were so many. Jan and Amanda (father and daughter) are among those. They started Le Vallon des Oiseaux more than 30 years ago and managed to create a piece of the Netherlands in the south of France. And then we’re mostly talking about the guests and the food.
The weather and the landscape of the campsite, on the other hand, made us realize that we were still in France. Le Vallon des Oiseaux is nicely divided into several camping areas, some close to the main facilities, some up on the hills for extra sunshine. Given the hot summer temperatures, we aimed for a spot in the “tent forest”, where the pine trees would protect our tent from the warm sun for most of the day. A skinny dip in the pool with a magnificent view provided extra refreshment.
Important to mention is that the reception at Le Vallon des Oiseaux closes between 1 PM and 3:30 PM. This also means no check-in. We were lucky to arrive at 12:45, one more pee-break along the way and we would have had to wait for hours to get installed. Another thing that gave us mixed feelings was the birdcages at the entrance of the campsite. Animals in cages at a naturist place? We don’t really get it.
✅ Why go: If you love Dutch food and Dutch hospitality in combination with French weather. ❌ Why not go: If you’re looking for a more international place. ➡️ Read more on the Le Vallon des Oiseaux website.
The Provence as we know it at Messidor
Maybe we’ve been watching too many travel shows on TV because before we ever visited France’s Provence region, we mainly thought of it as a very dry place. A bit desert-like. As if the dunes of the French Rivièra just ran for many kilometers inland. We imagined white sands, covered with bushes of rosemary, thyme, savory, and oregano. The typical wild herbs from the region. Meanwhile, our road trip has shown that Provence is much more than this. Once we arrived at campsite Messidor though, we got a deja-vu. This was the Provence like we’ve always imagined it.
Although campsite Messidor has definitely seen some better times and we often felt like they were missing opportunities (which then again made us wonder whether we are truly becoming connaisseurs or just becoming truly spoiled), the place certainly has some cool highlights too. Their large pool and the integrated relax area gives great views over the surroundings and was our favorite spot in the afternoon. During the warm summer evenings, we very much enjoyed spending our time at the terrace of the bar, sipping cold beers while planning the rest of our journey. And its central location is perfect for day trips to visit most of the tourist spots in the region. Even the Mediterranean coast is less than an hour away.
✅ Why go: If you’re looking for a relaxed naturist campsite in the Provence. ❌ Why not go: If you’re looking for upscale facilities. ➡️ Read more on the Messidor website.
Top class naturism at Bélézy
We always try to explore new naturist spots during our travels. Because hey, we have a blog to write, it’s our responsibility to figure out all the best places for naturist vacations. But now and then, we also like to return to places. To places where we know what to expect. Places we have fallen in love with before. Places of which we know that we’ll enjoy being there from the moment we arrive until the moment we leave again. That’s exactly why we decided to return for a couple of days to Bélézy.
Bélézy is like an easy boardgame: Age 3 to 99. The huge list of activities contains something (well, lots of things) that everyone can enjoy, no matter whether you travel with small kids, teenagers, as a couple or on your own. Even during COVID times, there was more to do than we could ever fit in the couple of days that we were there. The first time when we visited Bélézy, we stayed in one of their many safari tents. This time, traveling with our own tent, we understood why some people say that the camping spots feel a bit cramped when the resort is completely full. But to us, that didn’t matter at all. Bélézy is not the kind of campsite where you spend much time in or around your tent anyway.
The Provence is one of France’s top vacation destinations and also provides lots of options for the naturist traveler. For every naturist traveler. From the busy family-oriented resorts like Bélézy and Les Lauzons, to more quiet and relaxed places like Le Petit Arlane and Messidor, to a piece of the Netherlands in France that’s called Le Vallon des Oiseaux.
2 thoughts on “Naturist Camping in the French Provence”
Thanks for yet another couple of insightful posts. We have just returned from two weeks’ brilliant camping in France, which was our first taste of French naturism. Like you, we had planned to stay a few nights in several different campsites, but thanks to Covid-19, decided to strip it down to longer stays in just two (apart from an overnight stay at Heliomonde). Those two were Les Fourneaux and – largely on this site’s recommendation – La Sabriele. We quickly decided France is a naturist heaven, and it would also be a good place for would-be naturists to try it for the first time. I would say the list of great sites in great locations in France seems endless, but you seem to be on a mission to prove you can visit them all!
Funny that you mention this, we actually once played with the idea of visiting every naturist place in France. Until we figured out how many there are. Through some basic research, we already found more than 200 places. And we’re pretty sure that we can probably find 100 more if we start looking at the really small clubs.
A great example is Paris, Héliomonde is by far the most popular place around Paris. But did you know that there are at least 3 others in the area?
Long story short, we would need to travel for many summers through France to cover them all. We admit, there are worse jobs, but we also like to see other parts of the world 🙂
So we decided to aim for variety instead. After this summer, we’re pretty sure that we can help every type of naturist to find a place in France that he/she will enjoy. Large/small/luxury/basic/cheap/expensive/camping/rental/east/west/… For every case, we have some good tips 😉