Our visit to La Jenny this past summer was our ninth visit since our first stay in 1997. I first learned of the place (back in the mid-nineties) from a friend on a "Compuserve message board" while seeking out better options for naturism than could be found in the US. He insisted that this was naturist nirvana. Having tried many, many locations throughout Europe, the US, and the Caribbean, I would still agree with that statement. The place is beautiful; well appointed chalets nestled in the pine forest, a village center with a restaurant, bar, grocery store, sundries store and an expansive pool complex (truly the nerve center of the entire establishment), and a gorgeous naturist beach that stretches for miles in either direction. We have walked for hours without ever feeling the need to cover up.
So why only four stars? A few reasons, the first one being weather. You go to a naturist venue to be... well, a naturist! But even in the midst of summer, that can be hit or miss. On our most recent visit, we missed! It was reportedly the coldest July on record and the opportunities to soak up the sun were scarce, at best. For a few days, we reinvested in exploring the region amidst sporadic bursts of rain and wind! Which leads to reason number two - The accommodations are excellent for what they are, but as others have mentioned, the spaces are small and confined if you simply need to stay indoors. We have stayed in several different units ranging from the Bengali to the Courlis, but even the largest chalets get claustrophobic by the third day of inclement weather, (especially when the children are along!) When the sun comes out and you can open all the windows, and even life at the chalet takes place out on the deck, the place is beyond compare. But only once or twice in ten years have we had weather that has permitted that EVERY day of our stay. (We typically stay two to three weeks, by the way. Europeans think Americans are crazy for their brief, 'drive-by' holidays. A week-long stay would fit into that category.)
You will definitely want to rent bicycles as that is the best way to get around the village and to/from the beach. (Also handy for the early am baguette run while they're still hot.) There is a sense that everyone is the village is watching out for one another, and thus, children ride their bikes to and from kid-club activities, the pools, the beach, the market with little concern for safety. In high season, there are a lot of teenagers around, though it's clear that even in Europe, naturism and adolescence is not an easy equation these days, which appears to be very annoying to the long time defenders of naturist principles. Having said that - it's a big place with plenty of space. Live and let live.
We have pretty much exhausted day trip options over the years, which are admittedly limited compared to a place like Normandy or Provence. Bayonne and Biarritz are within reason for a daytrip, and Bordeaux is just less than an hour. (Park in Merignac and take the tram to the city center.) You can ride your bike from La Jenny to Lacanau or Cap Ferret on the wonderful circuit of bike trails that snake through the pine trees. And as is the case throughout France, each local village has a market day - wonderful for seeking out fresh produce, local cheese, and wine from the nearby Bordeaux vineyards.
When I look back through my reviews, I realize there are other naturist venues I have awarded five stars, simply on the basis of sunny days and excellent amenities. But even with that, La Jenny remains our clear and away favorite, with the simple caveat that you may want to bring an umbrella and a map for those days when Mother Nature decides clothing is NOT optional.
- Also Known As:
- La Jenny Hotel Le Porge
- La Jenny France/Le Porge