Sitting on the banks of the Loire River in southeastern France, you'll find Mr. Plocq’s Caballon: a temporary lodging shaped like a cross between a spaceship and an Advil. It's an outlier: not part of the same aesthetic temporary-stay movement as the geodesic holiday domes, not a cabin, and definitely not a tent. In a world of look-a-like hotel rooms (and Airbnb "entire houses," for that matter), Mr. Plocq's Caballon actually qualifies as unique.
The titular Mr. Plocq is Emile Plocq, known as France as the consommate "charmer of birds," a watchmaker by profession who, 150 years ago, turned his interest in ornithology into a vocation, fueled by a considerable amount of exceptionally French-style whimsy. Among his efforts: an airship that would travel to Africa, in the path of migrating birds.
That expedition never happened, but the Caballon is the perhaps unexpected result of those plans: a structure inspired by Plocq's ship's barrel shape, with room for two to sleep under the stars. The space's footprint is tiny: about 150 square feet, which gives guests enough room for a mattress, positioned under a glass ceiling, as well as an indoor bathroom.
Plocq's accidental brainchild is mobile in a way that his original never was: Every summer season it's situated on a different spot along the Loire's estuary, giving repeat travelers the opportunity for a new vista every year. We're approaching the end of this year's — but if you can hop a flight to France before October 15, it's not too late to check it out.