Even with all the undeniable advantages of living in a bustling urban metropolis and with all the technological perks modern life has to offer, there must be times when you just want to leave it all behind you and get as far away as possible? Many respond to the call of the wild by camping, as a cheap and authentic way of connecting with nature; for inexperienced wanderers, however, to camp might be too demanding a way of getting out there, as it requires knowledge about equipment, organizational and orientation skills, as well as fitness and stamina, all of which take time to acquire.
For those who are reluctant to spend nights in forests being protected from the elements and animals only by a tent, the French Southwest has an incredible solution which can be a brilliant introduction to a more natural way of holiday-making.
Located near the city of Bordeaux in the Gironde region, three beautiful wooden cabins designed to look like a trio of owls await the curious and adventurous traveler. This peculiar plywood shelter overlooks the nearby wetlands of the Garrone river; each cabin has three floors with circular white beds and an adjoined boardwalk.
Designed and constructed by contemporary art producer Candice Pétrillo, also known by her nickname Zébra3, the owl cabins are named Les Guetteurs (The Watchers). In fact, they were envisioned and constructed as part of an initiative called Regues périurbains (peri-urban shelters) which is aimed at encouraging city dwellers to leave their hectic daily lives behind for a while and become closer to nature.
“Fully immersed in nature, from the Owls you can access directly over a 12m long dock to the Garonne, while the shopping center is just behind the reeds. Sitting back to back, the three birds form a shelter in which 6 persons can sleep on different levels while observing the quite unusual surroundings,” the official website of Les Guetteurs says.
The owl cabins can hold up to six people in three double beds. Their main appeal to people from the city is that they are located in a picturesque forest, while still being only a short trek away from the city which can be reached by simply following a marked trail.
While there is no heating or electricity, the cabins offer a picnic table, cleaning kit, fire extinguisher, and smoke detector, as well as toilet facilities nearby. But you still haven’t heard the best part: as long as you book in advance, staying there is completely free!
Speaking of the inspiration behind the project which was commissioned by the artist collective Bruit de Frigo, the designer of the cabins, Candice Pétrillo, said:
“The idea of birds came to me very quickly. After the last extension of the commercial area, I saw migrants swirling around in the sky, looking for the old dried wetland. The nod of an animal eye and the curve of the object are a tribute to the sculptors François Pompon and François-Xavier Lalanne.”
If you want to stay at Les Guetteurs, all you need to do is book ahead on the official website: pre-bookings open at the beginning of each month.