Christiane founded with her husband Albert Lecocq
the French Naturist Federation on 19th February
1950 and the International Naturist Federation in
In addition to the establishment of these two enti-
ties, highly important to the naturists around the
world, Christiane Lecocq and her husband have
worked for the development and promotion of the
naturist values, namely through the creation of the
“Club du Soleil de Carrières-sur-Seine”, the first
“Héliomarin Naturist Centre worldwide in Montali-
vet, or also the first large naturist centre of the “Île
de France” at Saint-Chéron…
It were also Albert and Christiane who in 1949
created the first specialised magazine, the “La Vie
au Soleil”, still being published today. After taking
over the management in 1969 Christiane Lecocq
never had stopped working since the 40ties.
“I very precisely remember Christiane, who was my
boss at the Vie au Soleil. She was a woman with
a very sharp tongue, proud of her beliefs”, recalls
Yves Leclerc, the vice-president of the French
Every year Christiane Lecocq went with high pride
to the General Assembly of the French Naturist Fe-
deration, of which she was Honorary President and
where she recently had celebrated her 100th anni-
“If France today is the first naturist destination
worldwide, with 3,5 million practitioners, whereof
more than 1,5 French, she cannot deny that this is
thanks to her!” specifies the president of the French
„Christiane Lecocq, the founder of the national
and world naturist movement.“
WHO IS THE FRENCH NATURIST FEDERATION (FFN)
The French Naturist Federation is the institution of
naturism in France. Founded in 1950 it ensures the
promotion of naturism and looks after the interests
of its members. It coordinates the actions and ensu-
res the national representation of the 459 sites de-
dicated to naturism, whereof 154 associations, 155
holiday resorts, 73 authorized naturist beaches, 35
apartments or naturist bed and breakfast rooms, 24
urban pools with naturist zones, 2 naturist harbours
situated at the Mediterranean and 16 regional feder-
ations of naturism.
THE CREATION OF THE NATURIST MOVEMENT,
THANKS TO THE LECOCQS, WITH THE KEY DATES:
6th April 1911:
birth of Christiane Lecocq at Tourcoing
1932: Christiane discovers naturism through sports
at the “Club Gymnique du Nord” at Fort de Seclin,
near Lille. Meets Albert Lecocq.
28th October 1933: Albert and Christiane Lecocq
1944: Albert and Christiane Lecocq found, in hi-
ding, the first “Club du Soleil”. In 1945 they move
to Carrières-sur-Seine and create the “Club de Soleil
de Carrières-sur-Seine”, which becomes the unavoi-
dable place of national and international meetings.
1949: In order to endow the naturist movement
with a broadcasting device, the Lecocqs found the
magazine “La Vie au Soleil”. For 60 years this me-
dium is the emblematic organisation of the the naturist movement.
19th February 1950: Albert and Christiane Lecocq
found the French Naturist Federation and set the
concepts of naturism.
23th July 1950: They create the first “Centre
Héliomarin Naturiste” worldwide in Montalivet.
1953: Albert and Christiane Lecocq create the In-
ternational Naturist Federation so to group under
one same banner all the federations that have deve-
loped in several European countries.
1969: Death of Albert Lecocq.
NATURISM: FROM ORIGIN TO TODAY
The role of Albert and Christiane Lecocq in
the development of naturism in France, in
Europe and worldwide.
1770: Dr. Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734-1781),
member of the “Société Royale de Médecine de Pa-
ris” writes in a memorandum, prize-winning by the
Academy of Dijon in 1976: “Naturism is the doctri-
ne of allowing nature to act rather than intervening
1775: The oldest modern day trial comes from
Georges C. Lichtenberg (German author and phy-
sicist) who, in his study “The aerial Bath”, noted
that the Lord Monboddo, one of the most respected
judges at the Edinburgh Court, bathed naked as
well as his daughters.
1888: The painter Karl Diefenbach (1851-1913) star-
ted alone to preach nudity in a forest area of Bava-
ria. In 1897 he founds the community “Humanitas”
with 25 supporters for a common alternative life
with a passion for nature, nudity, spiritualism and
1893: Creation of the “Association of natural well-
being” in Germany. Registered in1905 it is the ol-
dest naturist association in the world. The hygienist
sociologist Heinrich Pudor writes a book with the
title “Nacktkultur” (nude culture), one of the first
publications promoting the benefits of social nudity.
1903: In France S. Gay creates a Naturist Colony
at the “Bois-Fourgon” near Etampes. Paul Zim-
mermann created the first gymnastics centre “Frei-
lichtpark” (Open Air Park) at Lübeck (Germany), it
operates till 1981.
13th August 1905: Birth of Albert Lecocq at Arras.
1907: In France Georges Hébert and Dr. Paul
Carton will establish the principles of a naturist
physical education by the creation of the “Natural
Father Legré, with agreement of his superiors, takes
his students to bathe without swimsuit in the creeks
The naturist activity starts in Spain by the creation
of an association.
6th April 1911: Birth of Christiane Esterman at
Tourcoing, future spouse of Albert Lecocq.
1920: Marcel Kienné de Mongeot and Yvan de La-
val found the “Sparta Club”, the first naturist club
in France and the Centre of Garambouville (near
Evreux) the year after.
In the Netherlands a first naturist association is
1922: Jacques Demarquette founds the Naturist
Camping Ground at Chevreuse.
1924: Christiane Esterman starts her working life at
age 13, when she becomes a factory worker.
1925: The municipality of Berlin opens the doors of
its public baths for naturists.
1926: The naturist movement made its real ap-
pearance in France with the publication of the maga-
zine “Vivre intégralement”, published by Kienné de
1927: In Switzerland the citizen of Biel Edouard
Fankhauser founds the “Organisation Naturiste
1929: Some people gather around Albert Lecocq at
his office in Lille, where he works as journalist, and
establish the close relationships with Marcel Kienné
1930: Two doctors, André and Gaston Durville
open a Naturist Centre, “Physiopolis”, on the island
of Platais, situated at the Seine between Médan and
Triel-sur-Seine in Yvelines, where the 1st Naturist
Congress takes place. At those days naturist clubs
practice therapies based on the healing properties of
the sun, the sea and the wind, nudity being the best
way to have contact with these elements.
1931: Dr Fougerat de Lastours highlights the spec-
tacular results achieved by solar hygiene.
Constitution of the Austrian Federation
Creation of CGF: “Club Gymnique de France” at
Villecresnes, which still continues today.
Albert Lecocq founds the CGN (Club Gymnique du
Nord) at the Fort de Seclin, near Lille. Albert Lecocq
joins Marcel Kienné de Mongeot and his ideas.
Keen of the social naturism he directs the practice
of naturism towards the wild sites and the camping grounds.
1932: Foundation of the village Heliopolis on the
Île du Levant (Var) by André and Gaston Durville.
1933: By a decree dated 3rd March 1933 Goering
banned all swimming and other outdoor activities
in nudity on the German territory. The majority of
naturist publications and magazines were destroy-
Albert Lecocq creates the CNGN (Club Naturiste et
Gymnique de Normandie) on 28th October. Albert
Lecocq marries Christiane Esterman.
1934: Opening of the first naturist beach in Croatia.
1935: In Germany certain sites were returned to
the naturists, authorizing them to practice sports
and sunbathing in the most natural apparel.
1936: With its social reforms and the enthusiasm
for the outdoors the “Front Populaire” inspires
Albert Lecocq with “popular nudism”. He sees the
foundations of a social naturism, taking up the prin-
ciples of regeneration of man of Kienné de Mon-
geot, according to the natural laws of the doctors
André and Gaston Durville (founders of the city of
Heliopolis on the Île du Levant), thanks to the helio-
therapy recommended by Dr. Fougerat de Lastours.
Léo Lagrange (1st Assistant Secretary for Sports
and Leisure) officially recognizes the utility of the
1939: The first Naturist Olympic Games take place
on the site of the ONS (Switzerland).
1942: The Nazi regime decides to legalize naturism
in Germany. Nude swimming is permitted again: a
new decree is published authorizing the naturists to
take off clothes on the beaches and at the borders
of the lakes, to the extent that they are certain not
to be seen by other people.
1944: Albert and Christiane Lecocq create, in hi-
ding, the “Club du Soleil” à Carrières-sur-Seine,
thanks to the contribution of “Vivre” of Kienné
de Mongeot, with the idea one club for each city,
one site for each club. The national vocation of the
Club du Soleil does not take long to manifest itself.
Carrières-sur-Seine hosts numerous French and
1949: Albert and Christiane Lecocq create the
magazine for naturist information intended for the
general public, “La Vie au Soleil”. 60 years after its
creation this magazine still is the emblematic orga-
nisation of the naturist milieu.
1950: On 19th February Albert and Christiane Le-
cocq found the French Naturist Federation (FFN).
It sets the concepts of naturism, its normal objecti-
ves, its rules of conduct and its statutes. The entity
was established with the fundamental principle that
all the clubs would group together under one single
federation. The basic idea expressed by Albert and
Christiane Lecocq was: “By naturism we mean the
set of rules that bring the individual person closer
to a natural life”. Within 5 years the number of affi-
liated associations grew from 9 to 86.
On 23rd July Albert and Christiane Lecocq, with the
help of the Club du Soleil de Bordeaux, found the
“Centre Hélio-Marin (CHM) of Montalivet”, a naturist
leisure complex north of Bordeaux, on 100 ha of
moors and dunes, (soon expanded to 170 ha).
France and Croatia become the first countries to
develop the concept of naturist commercial resorts.
1953: Albert and Christiane Lecocq create at Monta-
livet the International Naturist Federation (INF-FNI),
which brings together the Federations of all the
countries, recognized for their practice of family and
organized naturism. The DFK (German Federation)
officially becomes a legally registered association.
In August the 3rd Naturist Congress takes place at
1954: Albert et Christiane Lecocq found Socnat
(Société de Financement des Centres de Nature), a
professional and financial entity, intended to ensure
the economic development of the naturist holiday
1956: René OLTRA meets Albert and Christiane
Lecocq at Montalivet and creates together with his
brother Paul the naturist camping ground of Cap
d’Agde, similar to the Centre Hélio Marin of Montali-
vet et names it “Centre Hélio Marin René Oltra”
1957: Albert Lecocq creates the association Arena
(Art and Nature).
1959: Foundation of the Belgian Naturist
1961: Albert and Christiane Lecocq open the
centre “Héliomonde “ at Saint-Chéron (Essonne),
the largest naturist site in the Île de France (47 ha)
on the former sandstone quarry from where the
pavements of Paris were extracted. Members of
the French Volleyball team train there, under the
leadership of Christiane Lecocq, who practices
competitive volleyball. Sports in nudity hold a big
place then. The “Cortey-Cup” sends the best clubs
to tournaments for meetings in France and abroad
(swimming, archery, table tennis, volleyball).
1964: Albert and Christiane Lecocq create
“Nauténa” (Boating and naturism) and the
“Naturist Sports Union”.
1967: Albert and Christiane Lecocq establish a So-
cial Naturist Development Plan that aims to trans-
form a closed society into a dynamic movement,
integrated and socially accepted.
1969: The Interministerial Mission for Tourism De-
velopment of the “Littoral du Languedoc-Roussil-
lon”, named “Mission Racine”, assigns a district of
the new resort of Cap d’Agde to naturism.
On 31st October Albert Lecocq dies at
1974: On 29th January the “Mission Racine” deci-
des the creation of a naturist complex at Port Leu-
At the XIVth Congress of the International Naturist
Federation of Montpellier, which takes place in the
centers of Agde and Sérignan, the adoption of the
international definition of naturism: “Naturism is a
way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by
the practice of communal nudity, with the intention
of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and
for the environment.”
1983: On 28th October the French Naturist Federati-
on receives the approval “Association de Jeunesse
et d’Education Populaire” from he Ministry of Leisu-
re, Youth and Sports.
Municipal pools open slots for practitioners nearly
everywhere. In Paris the city administration opens a
slot for naturists at the city pool Roger le Gall.
1986: The French Naturist Federation signed a con-
vention of objectives with the Ministry of Tourism
and joins the “Maison de la France”.
1993: The “Maison du Naturisme” opens at Paris.
1989: At the initiative of the French Naturist Fede-
ration creation of the “Club Français du Naturisme
d’Atout France”, the agency for development of the
tourism in France, dependent on the Ministry of Tou-
1999: Christiane Lecocq stops with the table tennis
competitions at age 88, “By reason”, she will say
2008: On 11th September the Conseil Municipal de
Leucate (Aude) decides unanimously to give the
name “Albert Lecocq” for a new road of rue de Port
Leucate; connecting the naturist villages of Ulys-
se, Eden and Les Mas de la Plage. The sign will be
placed in October, almost day to day on the date of
the 40th commemoration of the decease of Albert
Lecocq. With high emotion Christiane Lecocq her-
self will unveil the street plate bearing the name of
her husband, with the presence of the representati-
ves of the city of Leucate, the French Naturist Fede-
ration and the inhabitants of the Naturist Village of
2014: On 24th December Christiane Lecocq passes
away at the old people’s home Mapi at Chatou, at
the dawn of her 104th year. Her funeral takes place
at the church Notre Dame of Chatou and she is bu-
ried at the side of her husband Albert Lecocq, who
died an 31st October 1969.
From INF-FNI FOCUS APRIL 2019