The Durville Brothers

In 1931, the Durville brothers decided to open the first naturist center on the island. Until then, le Levant had been a land of conflicts and uprising. Fifty years after the St Anne penitential colony closed its doors in 1848, they chose this remote island to launch their new concept: naturism. A village, along with its chapel and shops was born.

Naturism is permitted everywhere except in public places located in the port and around the village square. Naturism is mandatory on the Grottes beach – the only accessible beach of the island – and along the island’s coast.

A bit of history

For most of its past, Le Levant’s history has been closely linked to its neighbour Port-Cros. From the 5th to the 16th century, Le Levant was the most prosperous of the Golden Isles, protected by the different religious orders that occupied it. As François the 1st turned the island into a marquisate with Port-Cros, Le Levant was placed under the protection of the baron Bertrand d’Ormezan who had as a mission to “put the island back to work and protect it from pirates”. The island was looted and devastated by the British in 1793 and then left abandoned.

In the 19th century, interest in the island reborn due to its strategic position. Bonaparte decided to reinforce its defences by constructing the Arbousier Fort and the Titan Tower. In 1855, the island was turned into a penal colony for children between the ages of 12 and 20. Working in the fields, these children lived in very harsh conditions until a violently crushed uprising led to the closing of the colony in 1878.
The country bought the greater part of the island and turned it into a military base for the navy. On the other side, the Durville brothers created the first naturist settlement in 1931. The Naturist Domain of Heliopolis, was born: a real village, along with a chapel and shops.

Naturism is mandatory at the Grottes beach

Le Levant island