Architects make endless effort to provide accommodation that is always more aesthetically attractive and comfortable. If, to quote the French screenwriter Audiard, you want to “fall back on the bizarre”, then you should know the offer is really varied.
This is the first thing that comes to mind when we speak about original accommodation. They have pride of place in TV reports on the subject, particularly in the tree-cabin version. This being said, have no fear, they are a long way away from the kind of tree cabins that were around when we were children. This is real accommodation, made to measure following strict safety standards and with a level of comfort (connection to utility networks and heating, for example) and facilities that are often far above average, with some campsites going a long way in this direction.
Over the past few years, floating cabins have been built. These are often unique models or made in a limited series. But some firms (BB Concept) have adapted floating cabins to models available in a catalogue. These cabins can be anchored in the middle of a body of water in complete autonomy or linked to a utility networks.
In simple terms, lodges are like the big tents used by fans of safaris in Africa, like in Out of Africa. The idea is simple: to provide maximum comfort in a tent that is sometimes much bigger than a mobile home and can have up to 3 bedrooms. They are made of canvas (cotton or PVC-coasted canvas) or may contain various amounts of wood. Over the past few years, we have even seen “four seasons” models with insulation for use off-season.
These are more or less faithful copies of Mongolian Yurts. Two types can be found. The first is imported from Asia and reuses the same building techniques as traditional yurts (different animal hides on a wooden frame). The second also has a wood structure, but they are covered with more modern fabrics. They are more practical and require less maintenance.
Even if firms have ventured into this sector, the Gypsy caravans that you can rent are mainly the work of craftsmen who are specialised in the field. They often set the bar high in working with wood – a particularly warm material – and the caravans often have a very high level of facilities. While some of them can be drawn by a horse for original holidays on the move, most of them are fixed.
A little bit extra...
If you want to take the experience a little bit further, there’s no problem, you can. If you dream of a night under shelter but with the stars projected in Cinemascope, it’s possible with the Bubble Dream by Cabanon. The bubble can be transparent, semi-opaque or opaque, and is the guarantee of nights with the sky on a giant screen. If you want to live like a squirrel for a few nights, then why not try out the “Goutte d’eau” (Water Drop) by Selvao – accommodation for two people and designed to be suspended from a branch? There are plenty of other examples, since manufacturers, often independent artisans, seem to have endless imagination, with accommodation in the shape of a bean or a mushroom, very long barrels, a small Finnish chalet (Kotas), pods (made of wood and half-cylinder shaped), Native American Tipis, etc. The list is long.
A weekend or a longer stay?
If you decide on something original, the question of the length of your stay is sure to come up. While some sorts of accommodation, such as Gypsy caravans, are suited to long stays, others are more adapted to weekends or short holidays, especially for families. Because staying up in the trees all through your holiday may well soon lose its charm. In the same way, spending three weeks with your family in a cabin in the trees, especially with young children, is probably not to be recommended. After all, you are going away on holiday… to relax and get some rest.