I’m over in Cormeilles-en-Parisis in the NW suburbs of Paris, staying with my father Bolton Bill & lovely Stepmum Barbara.
They’ve lived here about fourteen years and I’ve been making annual trips over to see them since they moved, aside from the first couple of years. I was trapped in a viscious cycle of scarcity. Not easy being a single parent juggling kids, business, house and garden
Life is much rosier now but as the years pass, the dynamics change. We can no longer do the trips we once did. Dad and Barbara have taken me all over France to see the most wonderful chateaus, museums, exhibitions, concerts and tourist hot spots ❤️ but age takes its toll and I’m happy to simply be here at home, with the occasional wiggle wiggle out to the local tabac to torment the bad boys under hooded eyes.
I was taught German at school which isn’t that much use in France, although my Stepmum is German. An amazing lady, she’s fluent in French, German obviously, English and conversational Spanish and Italian. Her idea of conversational is probably the most I’ll attain in any language outside English. Nowadays, time is the impediment to study
Between the household chores (I’m currently acting as a packhorse for the heavier jobs) and wonderful meals out, I decided to take the plunge and pay a visit to the ANP Association des Naturistes des Paris which is located in the SE area of Paris.
I’ve never been in to Paris on my own. The inability to speak more than rudimentary French, what’s “Hello boys” incidentally? tends to add a bit of disquiet but also it’s quite nice to do some things in company.
However, there were no takers for a skinnydip. Dad thinks we’re all “Bloody mad.” Barbara who is a cultured older lady, quite incredulous at the prospect of public nudity “I can understand it in the bedroom.” 😂
After some wavering, having mooted the idea on my @Socksoff1 twitter account which received a wonderfully warm response from @ANPOfficiel I decided to go for it. Much planning ensued to ensure this incompetent Englishwoman didn’t get lost. I should mention, I have NO sense of direction. Getting lost is also something I’m well versed in.
Dad plotted the route with me meticulously on Google maps, so much so I recognised the streets when I arrived later that day.
Barbara wrote a foolproof Metro list for me, I packed my ubiquitous daysack and late afternoon, I was off!
Dad and Barbara, taking no chances packed me off with Metro tickets and instructed me to keep in touch. I’m 59 🤣 but I could understand their concerns. I love travelling but I do have a lot of adventures and not always the best ones 🎊
The journey was indeed foolproof. I found the requisite Metro station Porte des Vincennes without any problems and having scoured the local area with Dad earlier, knew there were plenty of places to eat. I’d planned to have dinner before my swim, as close to the venue Piscine Roger Le Galle, as possible.
Having allowed ample time for adventure (getting lost) I arrived in the vicinity at 7pm which left two hours before the Wednesday evening session. Net result, dinner was on the cards.
The pool is only a 12-minute walk from the Metro which gave me plenty of choice as I ambled along the streets again (thanks Dad), finally settling upon a lush looking Indian restaurant just 6-minutes from Piscine Roger Le Galle
I elected to have the 14.99 euro selection. I had sufficient time for three courses and a beer but the chap serving me didn’t seem to realise ladies tend to favour halves, not pints unless we’re in the rugby club, or is that just me? To be fair, I did ask in English
Don’t I look upset about his error? 😂 The fact I was swimming later was the concern though. Not an ideal combination, swimming and alcohol. It meant I was obliged to eat all of the food to soak it up 😁
By now waddling, with 10 minutes to spare I set off again, spurning coffee. Non merci, no time and arrived triumphantly
It was a smooth move to arrive at 09:00pm. Doors open at the alloted time and a socially distant queue formed quite quickly. This is a busy association with over 400 members. If I lived in Paris, I’d definitely be a member!
I guess I stood out like a sore thumb with my red hair and female. Like any naturist/nudist event women tend to be outnumbered, although the demographic breakdown was notably different here compared to the UK.
There were many more younger naturists, seriously sporty types, lithe and toned thrashing up and down the pool and what a pool it was but I’m getting ahead of myself. Augustin, a new member of the Association who had been so welcoming on Twitter and subsequently Facebook where I submitted my pre-attendance information spotted me and took me around to the registration desk. I didn’t have an Association card and some of the formalities had been dealt with already.
At 25, Augustin is just 3 years younger than my son Arthur, so we chatted for a while. Like many of the French, he is fluent in English, lucky for me!
Sign-in completed and my INF and BN card flashed, the ANP President Laurent Luft who also runs their social media and acts as one of the National Administrators for the French Federation of Naturism, kindly decided to show me around.
I’m not sure if Laurent realised I’m the Women’s Representative for @NaturistLondon before but he’s aware now. We had chance to chat as he showed me around the vast facility and between my laps and his organising.
Down in to the bowels of the building, rather like the descent to Energybase where Naturist London was held 😢 (for those of you who aren’t aware, we have lost our venue and are looking for a new home), we entered the changing area.
Flip flops on and mandatory pool hats. I’d purchased one bearing the ANP logo which I’d admired, along with a towel at registration. Designed by one of their members who’s an architect, it encompasses Laurent’s brief to show they are a Parisian swim, with a range of activities and open to family members. Indeed, one Dad was in the pool with his son and all his diving gear.
From the changing room, Laurent took me through the typical French foot dip area ❄️ and out into the sunlight. Deep joy, it’s a lido 😁 I hadn’t appreciated it was a lido and a big pool at that; 50 metres 💃😍 And it’s not just swimming they host, with a range of activities, aqua aerobics, gym sessions, yoga, steam room, massage, classes of interest to members eg art. I was in awe. We have no equivalent in the UK.
Although Naturist London is a wonderful community swim, we lacked these facilities. Perhaps a new venue will provide more choice? Let us know if you can think of somewhere suitable, not predjudiced towards naturists and our community. There’s no shortage of interest in attending as our membership attests.
Laurent took me and another interested new french member poolside, through a corridor and up a staircase to a gym where a member was about to start a gym class.
Just look at everything they offer, listed on their superb website with membership just 150 euros per annum 😮 Fantastic!
We spiralled back down the staircase to the large outdoor pool again, past the steam room which is sadly a Covid casualty at the moment and Laurent having kindly agreed to have a picture taken with me, posed poolside and we snapped a few shots for posterity.
Honestly if you’re in Paris, this is a MUST VISIT.
I think it would be marvellous to strengthen our recriprocal links and go over en masse with the Naturist London community. British Naturism will be well aware of this amazing facility and Laurent is well known in France and beyond for his work promoting the ANP and naturism
Collaborations always bring benefits and with a large Mercure Hotel 2 minutes away and an active weekly schedule of sporting activities, I can see lots of potential. I’ll definitely be back!
Finally, to Laurent, Augustin, fellow members of the ANP and to the gentleman who gave me some shower gel, you couldn’t have been more welcoming, thank you so much.
I’m also now the proud possessor of a branded ANP swim hat and towel. I love a souvenir but these will get regularly used 🏊♀️ minus the costume!