Anne and Richard Nightingale run a clothing-optional B&B from their home, L’ancien Tabac, an old winemaker’s house in a village between the Mediterranean and the hills of the Haut-languedoc, and a 15-minute drive from the picturesque town of Pézenas. Richard explains more...
I got into naturism in the 1970s when I was living in Sweden. My girlfriend’s cousin was an enthusiastic naturist and she introduced us to the joys of skinny dipping, saunas and nude sunbathing. Since then I have been a fair-weather naturist; being naked when clothes are superfluous is wonderful but there is no great pleasure in situations where clothing is both practical and normal.
I introduced Anne to naturism when we met, about 15 years ago. After the usual initial apprehension, she quickly came to love the lifestyle. I’ve spent holidays in France since I was a child but hadn’t seen much of the Languedoc until 2001, when my brother bought a house here.
Anne and I first started to think about buying a house in the south of France 10 years ago and after a couple of years looking at properties, we finally decided upon our present house in 2010. It ticked many of the boxes on our wishlist; it’s a perfect size for us, it has great charm and a very private garden and pool in spite of being in the middle of a village.
It was originally intended as a holiday home but after our first summer we decided to take the plunge and live here full-time. The house was pretty rundown and we have put a lot of energy (and money) into bringing it up to a good standard. We have replaced the old pool, renovated the facade, completely rebuilt the kitchen and reduced the number of bedrooms, using the extra space to provide each bedroom with its own ensuite. Running a B&B was at the back of our mind from the word go and once we
had renovated the house and garden to a sufficient standard, we saw that an intimate, small-scale clothing-optional B&B might be a realistic proposition. Why clothing optional? Because we didn’t want to have to start wearing clothes in our own back garden and pool. We have always enjoyed having guests here. Some are naturists, some are not. The important thing is that they feel comfortable whether they are fully clothed or completely naked. Most come from Scandinavia but we also have guests from the UK, Netherlands and North America.
If you are a naturist who is considering buying a property in France, you obviously want a house that gives you the opportunity to practise naturism at home. Explain the situation to your estate agents so you won’t waste too much time looking at properties that are completely unsuitable.
If viewing in winter, consider the possible effects of foliage in summer, which may make your outside space much more private than it seems at first sight. Consider also whether there is a risk that those blissfully open spaces around the property might in fact be prime building land, making the property less attractive as a naturist home in years to come.
We’ve loved our time here but we’re planning to put the house on the market early next year. Anne, who is originally from Norway, now largely works in Oslo so we intend to buy a house on the Swedish-norwegian border to make her commute easier and be closer to most of our children and grandchildren. ancientabac.wordpress.com