Sketch maps © Tim Forcer 1998 January
In August 2001, our family decided to take a holiday at La Jenny, a naturist resort on the coast of south west France. This was to be our first naturist holiday having previously enjoyed visits to naturist beaches from textile accommodation. We read up on all the available reviews on the Internet and booked direct with the resort.
Being last minute the choice of ferries was limited and we set out on Friday afternoon to make the hop from Dover to Calais. We decided to use the peage as getting there was our priority due to the heat (36oC). Having read many accounts of the speeding fines etc. I decided to observe the speed limits carefully. However, at 130km/h I was being overtaken by cars towing caravans!. I soon kept up a steady pace with no traffic problems at all. We had booked overnight hotel rooms using the excellent route planner on http://www.accorhotels.com/ and stayed at the excellent Novotel outside Paris (next time we would stop further south around Tours and break the journey up some more). Next day we were up at 8am and started the journey to La Jenny. After a number of stops at the excellent service stations, we hit Bordeaux expecting trouble. In 20 minutes we were on the other side of the city with no delay and on arrival in Le Porge, the signposts for La Jenny are everywhere. We eventually arrived at La Jenny at 3pm. By 3.20 we were in the pool.
Whilst at La Jenny we spoke to many people with differing views on the journey. Some had taken the Portsmouth-St Malo ferry and had experienced awful traffic problems on the roads from the port. Others had decided on Cherbourg or Dieppe and had no problems.
La Jenny is set in Europe's largest pine forest and it is a truly idyllic setting. The trees are very tall similar to Scots Pine and yet allow plenty of light. They produce enormous pine cones (we returned with a bag full). The trees seem to disguise the size of the resort which is actually over a mile wide. There is little traffic in the resort with most people getting around on bikes which can be hired for 45FF/15FF adult/child per day.
To the east of the resort are the larger properties which are mainly privately owned. In the centre are all the resort facilities and to the west are the smaller properties.
There is a range of accommodation to suit all. From 2 person studios to 6/8 person bungalows there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. Many of the properties are privately owned and are let by La Jenny on an agency basis. The La Jenny owned properties are functional whereas some of the privately owned properties have additional creature comforts such as microwave ovens, dishwashers and satellite TV. We stayed in the popular Touterelle which sleeps four in comfort over two levels. It has a small kitchen area (two hotplates and a fridge), a dining area and a sitting area. Master bedroom is on the ground floor with two twins upstairs. Outside, the large veranda area is used by most people for dining with large tables and six chairs available at all chalets.
The kitchen is well equipped with the usual accessories and breakages can be replaced at the shop. Heaven forbid that anything be broken or missing come the final inspection.
Footnote: We did enquire about the costs of purchasing a similar chalet at the sales office with prices of 42000-46000 euros.
The house rules in English state that nudity is obligatory in the village and yet the French version indicate that is obligatory only around the pool and on the beach. In truth, most people wear something in transit such as a t-shirt or a pareo and after 8pm most people are dressed up for the evening entertainment around the bar.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. We did note that the lifeguard spoke to two teenage girls at the pool who were wearing bikinis. They soon lost the bikinis. We also noted people eating their evening meal at the restaurant naked.
La Jenny seem to have thought of nearly everything to keep you on site for the duration of your holiday.
The multilingual reception staff make the check-in process very smooth and are available to deal with enquiries from 8am to 7.30pm daily.
The on site facilities are impressive with a well stocked supermarket with no obvious mark-up on prices. Those looking for a wider selection tend to visit the Leclerc hypermarket in Ares. There is a fish market open on Tues/Wed and a selection of small shops for gifts, books and magazines.
The restaurant facilities are adequate with a choice of snacks from the Bar Le Calao and pizzas or a la carte from the Restaurant de la Piscine. However, most families seem to eat in their chalet and come out to play at 8pm. Throughout the high season there is a comprehensive entertainment program with live music on offer in the evenings and a show presented by the Mini Club.
The resort boasts an impressive array of sports facilities with 1000 sq metre of swimming pools and access to a superb sandy beach. If you have the energy, there is golf, archery, tennis, volleyball, basketball, football, petanque, diving, surfing, life saving courses, rock n'roll dancing, chess, handicrafts, yoga and fitness classes on offer. In addition, there is a small fitness suite with sauna.
For the Kids
La Jenny is certainly geared for the family and the kids have a great time. The Mini Club has it own area with individual chalets and playground area. The club is organised by age group and activities are geared toward spending as little time in the chalet as possible. The attention given by the 'animateurs' is superb and at least two are on duty per group at any one time. Most not all are multilingual but the kids don't seem to let anything as minor as language get in the way. The Mini Club operated between 10-1 and 4-6 and our kids went every day by choice.
The beach is superb. Clean with fine golden sand. The beach is backed by 50ft high sand dunes. Most people cycle from the resort leaving the bike at the bottom of the dune and walk up the boardwalk and down to the beach. Might not be so good for the not so agile. The Atlantic breakers crash onto the beach and it is worth taking note of the forecast on the top of the dune. An area of the beach is supervised by lifeguards between 10am and 6pm. The ferocity of the waves can make the conditions difficult for non or weak swimmers. For good swimmers, invest in a body board for an unforgettable experience.
Not much the resort can do about this one. We were there in Aug/September and the weather on the whole was very good. We had an amazing electrical storm. Whilst on the beach in 33 degree heat we could see the storm out to sea. It finally hit at about 6pm whilst were in the restaurant. I have never seen rain like it. After our meal it was still cascading down. I drew the short straw and stripped off, then dashed for the bike and rode home in my one button, drip-dry suit. I then drove back for the rest of the family. It rained until the next day and then cleared to the normal beautiful weather to which we had become accustomed.
La Jenny was our most relaxing holiday ever. We were ready for a complete chill-out and that is what we got. The hardest decision was to go to the beach or the pool. We wandered back to the chalet for lunch and then out again. We dressed in a pareo or nothing. For once, time appeared to stand still. We were well looked after by the resort and its staff. We had a great time and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. Would we go back?. You try and stop me!.
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