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Forget camping when you plan your next skygazing trip: there’s now a more immersive way to marvel at stars – with added comfort – as the new trend of star cabins takes off in France.
Carré d’étoiles (‘square of stars’) are compact star cabins that are dotted all over France. More spacious than a campervan and more luxurious than a tent, these unique capsules have been created for the sole purpose of stargazing.
Created by architects Louis and Nathalie Blanco, the Carré d’étoiles invite starry-eyed guests to stare into space from the comfort of their own bed covers.
The larger space of the cabins allows travellers to be better equipped for stargazing compared to staying in a tent.
Each cabin is adorned with its own star chart and a dome skylight positioned conveniently above the mezzanine bed, as well as an observation kit and telescope.
As well as offering an unrivalled glimpse into the glory of the universe, the Carré d’étoiles triumph in other important ways, too, as these micro-cubes are models of sustainable tourism.
Not only are they crafted entirely from recycled materials, but they are also built to be easily portable. They are dismantled at the end of each season like flat-pack household furniture, placed on a truck and stashed away in a warehouse until next summer.
The portability of the cubes reduces their impact on the environment: imposing machine-made influence upon the natural environment only temporarily, rather than permanently, gives the grass a chance to recover over winter.
There are 23 micro-cubes in total dotted across 12 prime stargazing spots in mainland France. The small number of cubes on offer makes them highly coveted, so it’s best to reserve well in advance.
Each one commands breathtaking views across French rivers, mountains or sweeping valleys. And some cubes are even located in the grounds of French castles.
One of the best times to reserve a break would be during the Geminids Meteor Shower. This is not only one of the most stunning yearly stargazing events, but also one of the most reliable.
It takes place every year between 4 December and 17 December. The ideal time to see it is around 13-14 December when the shower is at the peak of its activity, as well as after sunset and before sunrise – from 2am onwards.