This owl-inspired cabin is a countryside retreat in the middle of a city

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In 2001, a group of artists, architects, and obvious nature lovers banded together to encourage hiking and outdoor exploration in the urban areas of Bordeaux, France.

The project initially introduced a hiking trail to the region, but the main attraction is now undoubtedly a series of six well-designed Refuges Periurban (Peri-urban shelters) that dot under-utilized sections of countryside or wetland left behind by urban development.

This shelter, named “Les Guetters” (“The Watchers” in French) was inspired by small, ground-dwelling owls of the region and sits in an area just 200 metres away from a bustling shopping mall—though you’d never know it.

As part of the Noise Initiative project, visitors, hikers and local residents can rent a night at “Les Guetters” or any of the other minimalist shelters for free. Read more about the project and get rental information here.