Open from spring onwards. From €170 per night for two, with breakfast included.

30. Quirky Camping

Quirky Camping is tucked away in the rolling hills of the Dordogne and offers beautiful, comfortable, hand-built accommodation in a charming location that allows you to enjoy peace and tranquillity and reconnects you with nature. This special place offers four unique and private hideaways where you can soak up the spectacular views, stunning sunsets and experience star-gazing on another level. From the willow that is grown and prepared on site and the canvases that are lovingly hand-sewn to the subtle solar lighting, compost loos and the furnishings from local brocante markets, the yurt bedrooms offer an authentic eco-experience. Added to this is the large, well-stocked organic kitchen

QUIRKY ACCOMMODATION 2019 THE GUIDE Choose from six unique accommodation options at Les Lodges des Grands Crus

garden that uses permaculture practices. Guests are encouraged to go scrumping so you can enjoy cooking up a storm in your own outdoor, fully-equipped, quirky kitchen. After dinner on the terrace, settle down on a lounger with a glass of local wine to watch the sun disappear behind the horizon. Once you’ve recharged your batteries, your hosts will tell you all about the

gems to explore in this area of outstanding natural beauty, steeped in history and tradition. You’ll fall in love with this family-run venture offering ecological holidays for those needing to get away from it all.

31. Les Lodges des Grands Crus There’s more than one way to unwind with wine! Visit this

newly-developed property and immerse yourself a world of serenity – in sight of the legendary Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis in Yonne, Burgundy. Imagine all the comforts of a hotel but with the charm of a spa and the sense of being immersed in nature. You can choose from six unique accommodation options, each cleverly positioned in or beside a lake, with some on stilts and others floating. The Vaudésir Lodge on stilts is perhaps the cutest one, and boasts a beautiful 15m2


terrace with a private jacuzzi – and even your own private island with chairs and fire pit. Meanwhile, the Blanchot lodge on shore is suited to those with limited mobility. From €250 per night during the week. Why not use the voucher option, a perfect gift idea to treat friends or family, especially for Christmas? They are open-ended and can be redeemed any time. FT

Unusual cave hotel in the heart of the

Be on the look-out for these owls – les Guetteurs – on the banks of the Garonne in the far southern reaches of the city of Bordeaux

art producer Zébra3, after all). A wise triumvirate huddling together, guarding the waters beyond, these wooden owls instantly pique one’s curiosity. Look more closely: those wide peepers are portals into a snug cubbyhole; and at night, warm light spills out of these near- supernatural guardians. These owls are, in fact, designed as temporary living spaces, with three floors, circular white beds, and an adjoining boardwalk overlooking the nearby wetlands. It’s a charming take on modern accommodation, though don’t expect any frills and luxury – this is self-catering holiday accommodation in its rawest form. There’s no

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electricity, running water or white goods. All you have is a wooden space to rest your head and gaze up at the stars. The wise owls are the Guetteurs; the ‘look-outs’. And the best thing of all about them? They’re completely free to book, though they only take bookings for the calendar month ahead so don’t plan too far in advance.

28. Les Cabanes du Salève In Haute-Savoie, between Annecy and Geneva and just 30 minutes from Geneva airport, lovers of spa breaks can enjoy a spot of luxury pampering with a Nordic twist. This idyll in the

heart of the Salève forest has panoramic views of the Jura paysage and offers several Scandinavian-style accommodation options. Take your pick from a luxury spa hut with a jacuzzi more than four metres up in the trees to a Finnish kota called La Grotte d’Orbojet. This log cabin with a chestnut cladding roof can be used for large gatherings of family or friends (it actually sleeps seven but can host up to 40 for a shindig). The site also has cabanes en rondins – Canadian-style log cabins complete with woodburners. La Grotte d’Orbojet from €250 per night.

29. Les Bulles des Mines d’Or Share a romantic, space-age night under the Alpine stars in the Golden Mines Lake area of Morzine, where futuristic-looking accommodation meets pure mountain air. The transparent bubbles provide a home-from- home set-up with double bed, electricity, hot/cold Dyson air conditioning, wardrobe and jacuzzi. All with an added bonus you might not have at home: a private terrace affording spectacular 360-degree views of the mountain ranges beyond. Massages are available, as are drinks and dinner formules including regional treats such as charcuterie, cheeses and tarte aux myrtilles (blueberries).

Loire Valley

Get ready to live a unique experience in an exceptional setting in the Loire Valley at the residence of the Vignole, hotel****

Located near Saumur, hanging on the hillside of the Loire in a former private troglodytic village, you will find an elegant 17th-century mansion overlooking the Loire. Picturesque troglodyte Caves of the 12th century serve as a setting for 4 of the 11 rooms, but also for the apartment, the seminar room and reception, the stunning swimming pool and the fitness room.


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