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Bordeaux ‘owl’ cabins let you escape the city for free

You can now stay in a riverside owl-shaped cabin near Bordeaux for free, as part of the city’s Refuges Périurbains project.

23 July 2017
By Connexion journalist

The three wooden owls, whose eyes are the cabin’s windows and whose chest contains the doorway, are named ‘The Watchers’ (in French, ‘Les Guetteurs’).

Designed by Candice Petrillo of design project Zébra3, they are part of a wider project in and around Bordeaux, from the company Bruit du Frigo, in collaboration with Zébra3/Buy-Sellf, to provide interesting and eco-friendly retreats for stressed city-dwellers.

With three storeys inside, the ‘owls’ feature a bed level with circular mattresses for sleeping, a connecting boardwalk over the surrounding wetlands, and an outdoors terrace. Guests with reduced mobility are also be able to stay, as there are beds on the ground floor too.

Bonne nuit ✨ #lesrefugesperiurbains #lesrefugesbordelais #bordeaux #bordeauxmaville #onnestpasquedesparents

A post shared by Stéphanie Bordeaux (@lafamilledesloups) on

Bookings for the space are taken just one month in advance, and the space is currently fully booked until the end of August - perhaps because staying there is completely free.

The owls are the only animal-shaped cabins available, but there are also many other designs on offer as part of the eight-cabin Refuges Périurbains initiative.  

These include the six-person, star-shaped The Beautiful Star (La Belle Étoile); the eight-person, triangular, waterside The Prism (Le Prisme); the six-person High Perch (Le Haut-Perché), which takes the form of a tree house; and the seven-person, white and rounded cabin, The Cloud (Le Nuage).

Notre nid d'une nuit! Le nuage au parc de l'Hermitage. #nuitsurprise #lesrefugesbordelais

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The newest cabin is the Neptune A, on the Lac de Bordeaux, which is in the shape of a giant shell (although some have likened it to a giant soft-serve ice cream).

All eight of the cabins are found in and around Bordeaux, and many are found near water or surrounded by trees.

Aimed at urban city-dwellers, they are all free to stay in, bookable online, and largely accessible by public transport.

While there are composting toilets nearby for guests to use, the cabins themselves do not have electricity, heating, or running water.

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