If roughing it in the French wilderness sounds like your idea of adventure, then here’s a reason to book your next flight to France tout de suite: the company Refuges Périurbains (peri-urban shelters) is offering visitors a chance to spend a night in one of their owl-shaped cabins for free.
Located in the world-famous wine region of Bordeaux near the Garonne River, the artistic bird-inspired accommodations dubbed Les Guetteurs, or The Watchers, couldn’t be farther from your average cabin in the woods. Designer Candice Petrillo modeled the wooden exterior in the shape of three owls nestled together. The eyes serves as windows for stargazers and nature enthusiasts alike, and the structure also includes a private dock and access to hiking trails.
The eye-catching dwelling is one of nine art-inspired cabins designed by various French artists in partnership with art production company Zébra3. Among the other one-of-a-kind cabin designs is The Prism, a stained-glass lakeside retreat, and The Beautiful Star, a beaming, yellow, star-shaped structure that sleeps five.
All the cabins in the Refuges Périurbains collection can be booked for free online from March through November every year. Reservations open at the beginning of the month for the next month, which means travelers interested in dates for September can book starting on August 1.
While this sounds like an absolute dream come true to those itching for an overseas excursion in France’s largest wine growing region (and on the cheap, no less), there are a couple of catches to the deal: All of the Refuges Périurbains cabins are primitive in design, meaning no heat, running water or electricity, so unless you bring a bucket of ice to keep your wine chilled, plan on sipping on room temperature vino. Additionally, guests are allowed only a one-night stay in each of the cabins.