Founded in 1950, the French Federation of Naturism (FFN) keeps repeating: “Naturism, live really, now!”. The practice of nudity in public is defended there as a return to basics. For Daniel Bandry, vice-president of the Vieux Salins naturist beach association and advisor to the PACA-Corsica regional naturist union, “naked: there is no boss or worker!”

This way of life would attract more and more French people. “In a society in search of a healthier life, less consumerist, more in line with nature, naturism has been experiencing an unprecedented revival for several years”, can we read on the FFN website.

No wonder for the vice-president of the Amicale des Vieux Salins: “France is the first naturist tourist destination in the world!” Indeed, each year, 4.7 million naturists spend their holidays in France, 60% come from abroad. And for good reason: France offers the largest naturist accommodation capacity in Europe, with nearly 368 authorized spaces, including 150 campsites and holiday centres.

According to the Federation, 2.1 million French people are regular practitioners of communal nudity. For Daniel Brandy, these figures can even go up to “5-6 million people who practice at home without declaring it.” According to a 2015 IFOP survey, conducted for the Tourism and Naturism Cluster of Atout France, 11 million French people say they are ready to experience it.

Where to start ? What do you need to know before getting started? Answers with Daniel Bandry, vice-president of the Amicale des Vieux Salins.

“In 1965, I worked in the Sud-Aviation company in Cannes. Our office overlooked the beach and one of my colleagues told me that on the island of Lérins everyone walked around naked. I went there returned out of curiosity. My wife was not very comfortable, but after talking to a naturist, she changed her mind. After an hour we were bathing naked!”

Like Daniel Brandy, many French people take up naturism during their holidays or indulge in it in the secrecy of their homes. “I live at the Verdon Provence naturist campsite: I have a caravan there all year round. I go there when I can, as soon as the weather is nice. And then, at home, when it’s hot, don’t need clothes!”

Since that day in 1965, Daniel Brandy, 82, has never stopped: “I like everything about naturism. I couldn’t live without it.” The nudity becomes almost addictive. “When you spend a vacation in camp, naked for a week, it’s hard to get dressed to do your shopping.”

According to the vice-president of the Amicale des Vieux Salins, received ideas and taboos in society largely explain the small number of self-proclaimed naturists. “I don’t talk about it with my family, my brothers and sisters. I practice with my new partner. My daughter made it a child with us. But, once a teenager, it made her friends talk. She definitely stopped since she is with her husband.” Why does naturism still suffer from such bad press?

When you ask Daniel Brandy what are the worst misconceptions about naturism, all kinds of words come up, including “immodest”. “We are often more modest than “textiles” [note. Name given by naturists to non-practitioners]. There is no desire to entice, where some clothes may have one.”

Another common mistake is the confusion between naturism and exhibitionism. “The FFN fought to separate the two. Before the law was ambiguous. People I know were attacked for exhibitionism: malicious people hid and denounced them. In my time, we went swimming with our swimming trunks. bath on your head so that you can put it on immediately when you get out of the water. Sometimes, someone was on the watch, like in Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez.”

Naturists also sometimes suffer from assimilation with licentiousness. “Out of 10,000 people in Cap d’Agde, there is a small minority of libertines. On the beaches, the police come to draw up tickets because some are having orgies. The image of our movement is distorted.”

Daniel Brandy campaign against all clichés and would like to see the practice become more democratized. “People concerned are worried about being bothered by voyeurs. Especially young women. They are advised to go to a labeled naturist beach, which is more supervised and family-friendly. those who are not clean on our beach!”

“When I present my association, I often leave with a new membership!”, concludes Daniel Brandy with a big smile.