Category Archives: Grayan-et-l’Hopital
This August, I spent a fantastic fortnight in France. After deciding that Barcelona was too expensive for a 4 night break, I looked into alternative holiday destinations. Thankfully, with the help of a borrowed tent we were able to spend two glorious weeks in France!
Looking for a place to visit (somewhere warm, naturist and not too far from the Port) I delved into my back issues of H&E Magazine, consulted the Bare Beaches handbook and searched online, we chose Euronat.
Despite the longer than expected drive from Calais (with an overnight stop in Tours), Euronat is amazing!
The aforementioned Bare Beaches book describes Euronat as “large and modern, offering camping, caravanning and luxury self-catering chalets. There are shops, restaurants, a big indoor pool and a spa with sea-water treatments, all set in a pine forest. It’s a peaceful place much loved by visitors for it’s friendly atmosphere. A great place to try naked camping.”
Getting to Euronat is quite straight forward. Take the A10 South before heading into Royan. Here get the ferry across the Gironde (30 Euro per car one way) to Soulac-Sur-Mer. In Soulac, take the D101 towards Grayan-et-l’Hopital where you can then follow the signs for Euronat.
Checking-in was a breeze with staff fluent in English. They do ask for a passport photo of each guest at check in so visitors can have their identification card produced. If you forget, they have a passport booth on site. The card’s are used to get access to the indoor swimming pool as well as if you leave the site on bicycles (for your car, you are given a sticker for your windscreen).
Our first impression was how large the site was – it is massive! Following the signs to our pitch, we found where we were to spend the next fortnight. We had booked a pitch with electricity that was surrounded by pine trees, close to the sanitary blocks and waste disposal area. Perfect!
No BBQ’s are allowed on site so fortunately we made full use of our borrowed cooking equipment.
The commercial centre is where the bars, restaurants and shops are located. Here we hired bikes 7 days (highly recommended) for about 30 Euros each. Over the course of the fortnight we ate in 3 different restaurants on site:
* Bar-Restaurant L’Oree Des Pins (standard bar food including tasty pizzas, steaks and Grande Biers!)
* El Nino (spanish style tapas)
* Fish Restaurant (probably the best meal we had during the whole fortnight. A little over-priced but good quality)
We tended to use the on-site deli counter where you could buy cartons of couscous, greek salads, local sausages and good quality Steak Hache – this we took back to the tent and cooked under the stars.
There are 2 or 3 convenience style shops, a newsagents/tobacconist, internet cafe, hairdressers and shops selling beach towels and sarongs. Two shops worth noting though are the Boulangerie and the Cave. Open at 7.00am, the Boulangerie was always busy particularly first thing in the morning as visitors stocked up on baguettes, croissants and delicious patisseries. The Cave, is Euronat’s on site off-license which houses 3 enormous vats of wine where you can pick up a 2 litre bottle of vin for 2 Euros.
A word of warning though – the shops all tend to shut around 1.00pm – 3.00pm so make sure you’re better planned as we were as we got caught out on a couple of occasions!
At night, there was often a live band playing at L’Oree Des Pins or in the main square in a temporary outdoor stage.
Elsewhere on the site there is a Thalassotherapy centre where we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the spa, sauna and jacuzzi (15 Euros per person for 1/2 a day).
There is also a large indoor pool, tennis courts, mini-golf, sculpture classes, pottery, basketball courts. The list is endless and certainly provides more than enough to keep people entertained!
The jewel in the crown at Euronat is it’s beach. Bare Beaches describes it as a “glorious expanse of golden sand”. The beach is a 10 minute walk from the commercial centre of a 5 minute cycle ride. The beach is divided into 3 sections – North, Middle and South – all have lifeguards on duty but dogs are restricted to north beach.
Due to the favourable weather, the beach was always packed (particularly where the lifeguards and safe swimming zones located), although a short walk allowed everyone their own bit of space.
When the tide is out the shore-line was full of people flying kids, exploring warm pools and playing bat and ball. A word of warning though, the tide does come in very close to the sand dunes so I’d recommend you pitch up close to the back of the beach as you can.
The beach also has unusual concrete blocks that have been graffitied, but actually make a nice addition.
As with this part of the coast the waves can get quite big so it was no surprise that may visitors to the beach were enjoying the waves either body-boarding or taking part in one of the surf schools.
Also, this west-facing beach also allows visitors to witness the most amazing sunsets – we thoroughly recommend taking a patisserie and a bottle of wine down to the beach, sit back and watch one of nature’s wonders.
There is a fairly relaxed approach to nudity – it is only compulsory in the indoor swimming pool and the spa. There are signs at the beach although there was some teenagers and females wearing bikini bottoms. This issue has led to a petition being started by (I assume) regulars of chalet owners at Euronat to campaign to the owners to enforce strict full nudity across the whole site.
I’m not too sure that this is the way forward for Euronat – the place works because it is family friendly, relaxed and people feel comfortable. I think if nudity was made compulsory, many people would be put off, particularly those with teenagers children and partners who do not want to be naked all the time. In evening, 99.9% of visitors are fully clothed (it did get quite chilly at night) and to be honest I think that if you go out for a meal then clothes should be worn in the evening.
Overall, Euronat is a fantastic place to enjoy a naturist holiday. There is a wonderful atmosphere full of people of all ages and walks of life. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
If you have been to Euronat, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well as any views on whether nudity at Euronat should be made compulsory.