Sleeping in wooden Creole huts

What tempts people to holiday in an ancient French colony turned into an Overseas French Department like Guadeloupe is mainly the postcard beauty relayed by palm trees and beaches. In order to fully appreciate the island’s culture and history, besides strolling through a museum, why not try out a night’s sleep in a traditional Creole hut, a facet of the West Indies’ genuine way of life?

Built at the start of the 18th century, the huts were originally simple basic accommodation for slaves who were sleeping right on their floor. The abolition of slavery in 1848 marked a turning point in the use of these huts. The liberated slaves took over free lands to build their own huts which now became real homes – warm and inviting. Built with the available resources, the roof of the hut is made out of sugarcane straw and the walls made of gaulette (literally wattle and daub huts); later wood was used. Soon, the Creoles put up outbuildings around their hut as an extension to their home; the kitchen was held there thus limiting risks of fire. The huts were often surrounded by gardens that doubled up as vegetable plots. The improvement of the way of life and problems linked to natural disasters saw the arrival of new building materials for the huts: iron sheets and concrete were used primarily to build them. However the huts were still built in such a way that they were widely open to the outside world; this contributed to the sense of warmth and community life. As from the 1950s, the huts adorned colors and each resident customized and decorated them with care. Besides its perfect adaptation to the West Indies’ climate, the hut is also very practical: it can be extended as the family grows and can also be moved. Therefore, when they relocated, the Creoles could literally move with their house. Unfortunately modern permanent houses were chosen over the huts which were abandoned as from 1960.

Even though most of the Creole huts have now disappeared, some still exist and the trend for this type of residence in the West Indies is now undergoing a rebirth, particularly to attract tourists but also to gain back a part of the local traditions.

Staying in these huts is much more than just a simple tourist ‘thing’! So why not let yourself be tempted? Several huts with all amenities are available for rent.

Not far from there, you will have the pleasure of visiting a number of attractions; here are a few examples that we have selected for you: The Botanical Garden of Deshaies, the Café Chaulet Museum.

Au jardin des colibris

Au jardin des colibris

An essential address:

Au jardin des colibris à Deshaies (Guadeloupe / Basse-Terre)
For the rental of a 42 square meter Creole hut for 2 persons, the rates are between 449 and 949 Euros for 7 nights depending on the season.

Official website: http://www.aujardindescolibris.com

Address

Sophie et Matthieu CORNET
Lieu dit Villers – 97126 Deshaies – Guadeloupe

Tél : 00 33 590 28 52 6800 590 690 58 62 11

email : aujardindescolibris@orange.fr


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