Designs include everything from owl-shaped huts to a snail-shaped abode on the water.

By Talia Avakian
August 02, 2017
Refuges Periurbains Bordeaux France Guetteurs Watch
Credit: Courtesy of Bordeaux Métropole

Those looking to explore Bordeaux’s natural offerings can take advantage of free accommodations that have been set up for hikers and nature enthusiasts as part of the Les Refuges Périurbains project.

As part of an initiative to show off the French wine region's gorgeous but often over-looked outskirts, architects have designed a series of shelters that sit along a scenic trail.

Though simple in their offerings, with no water, electricity, or heating, the shelters are quirky-cool – and you can't beat the price.

Nearby, visitors will be exposed to everything from ancient buildings, flowing rivers, castles, lush greenery, and magnificent opportunities for stargazing in the evenings.

Refuges Periurbains Bordeaux France Prism Triangle
Credit: Courtesy of Bordeaux Métropole

Each of the shelters can accommodate up to nine people, and there’s a variety of eclectic designs to choose from.

Refuges Periurbains Bordeaux France Cloud Nuage
Credit: Courtesy of Bordeaux Métropole

These include Le Haut-Perché, one of the latest additions from architecture firm Studio Weave, which sits in a small clearing in camping spot Bois des Sources, within Jalles park, and mimics the thin silhouette of water towers. There's also Neptunea, which is shaped like a snail.

Refuges Periurbains Le Haut Perche Bordeaux Free Holiday Cabin France
Credit: Bruit du frigo / Courtesy of Studio Weave

A hammock-shaped structure called Hammac is located near an ancient castle in Mandavit park, where nets connect to the surrounding oak, beech, and umbrella pines so guests can sleep under the stars. Six different windows also provide mesmerizing views over the surrounding forest.

Refuges Periurbains Bordeaux France Hammock
Credit: Courtesy of Bordeaux Métropole

Some of the more playful designs include the Watchers, three owls sitting back-to-back near the shores of the Garrone river that include a series of beds placed in a circle to resemble a nest.

There are also pyramid-shaped structures like Prisme, which sits on the shores of a lake and includes stained glass windows that let in an array of light, and every unique design tells a story about its location.

Each of the accommodations includes a table, picnic chairs, and cleaning kit, along with a fire extinguisher and a smoke detector, though guests should bring a sleeping bag, sheets and blankets, a pillow, and other amenities they may need.

Refuges Periurbains Le Haut Perche Bordeaux Free Holiday Cabin France
Credit: Bruit du frigo / Courtesy of Studio Weave

While hikers can only stay in each shelter for one night, those interested in spending more time wandering through Bordeaux’s natural scenery can book stays across the various shelters that line the path, with a marked trail allowing hikers to tour the metropolis in four to five days free of charge.

Bookings open for one day of the month, so you'll want to be sure to regularly check their website to see when dates open.