CHM Monta, more than 70 years of naturism …
Born in Arras on August 13th, 1905, Albert Lecocq, has throughout his entire life been a tireless supporter of physical activities in the open air and of naturism. Albert Lecocq has always been a visionary and was the first to feel the need of naturist holidays.
Consequently, he founded on July 23rd, 1950 the Centre Héliomarin de Montalivet which was going to be the first centre for naturist holidays to be created in Europe. He choose this name, somewhat more neutral and “medical” than “nudist centre”, because he, subtly, implies that we bathe in the sun entirely nude without actually expressing it.
The site expands over 58.5 acres of burned forest, remote from everything, consisting merely of one bungalow and 5 tents.
Albert Lecocq would impose the expression “naturism” to clearly put the emphasis on the relation of nakedness with nature and all that is related thereto. He would create, the same year, the French Federation of Naturism (FFN)
Expansion of the site up to 61.5 acres and creation of the first wooden bungalow villages (the wood used was from the region) and of a “thermal and climatic Spa for natural hygiene” with a sauna.
Albert Lecocq had many projects, aimed big, was ambitious and founded the International Federation of Naturism (FNI)
The Socnat (financing company for nature centres), which would manage the CHM, was created.
150 bungalows could be hired per week and remained completely empty. The accommodations were unfitted; there were neither kitchen utensils, nor light or bedding. Everyone had to bring their sleeping bag and blankets.
The settling of naturists in Montalivet, the least one can say, was not to everyone’s liking. The bishop of Bordeaux threatened Albert Lecocq with prison. Moreover, Jean MONGET, mayor of Montalivet was the target of violent critics and persecutions and sadly, put an end to his life in 1948.
The surface of the CHM expanded to 345.5 acres, of which 197.3 acres are hired from the municipality and 148.2 acres from l’Office National des Forêts (National Forestry Office) and the beach from the Domaine Maritime.
Very quickly, the notoriety of CHM has spread beyond the borders of France and a large number of naturists rushed up from all over Europe. By 1953, there were already 3500 people at the CHM.
On August 15th the number went over 5000 people.
The beach of CHM was officially recognised as the first naturist beach of France. Boards were installed indicating the existence of a naturist beach.
The CHM expanded over 370.3 acres of pine trees forest, boasted more than 1000 bungalows and would welcome more than naturist holidaymakers during the entire summer.
The CHM built the swimming pool, developed 12 km of roads, owned 50 sanitary facilities and set up 5 phone booths. The CHM, finally, admitted pets.
The CHM was now 432.2 acres
The CHM aimed at being a “modern and contemporary living environment”, as a result, a new area for the young was opened: the Hexagone with daring designed rooms. A circus and a surf school were also set up. In the summer of 1992, René Gracia launched Radio CHM “the naked radio”
The thermal baths area expanded to 876m²
An Aquatic Park with 4 slides, a whirlpool and a paddling pool was built.
2006 to 2009:
Setting up of a Cybercafé, a makeover campaign of the Centre’s sanitary facilities, now a hundred, and a tree planting campaign…
The CHM joined the Village-Center group, European leader of outdoor accommodation. For the first time ever, naturist holidays were seen by professionals as a real holiday theme.
Complete renovation of the Spa, creation of a new area for motorhomes, implementation of solar energy for hot water in many sanitary facilities. Complete renovation of the swimming pool.
More than 60 years of naturist history… Now it’s up to you to write the rest !