A Letter from French: The Tree House in Serenity for Escapist Tourists

By Putu Devi Rosalina, Udayana University Student, Year 2014

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Lov’nid, the most favorite in Domaine de Saint Jean.

After the class is over and having the final exam at the 24th of May 2016, most of the students in ESTHUA-Angers, French, are obliged to have an internship. The students are free to choose where they want to have an internship, whether in France or foreign countries. The duration is in the range of four until six months.

Similar for me, as a double degree student in ESTHUA-Angers. Meanwhile, because of the duration of my scholarship is limited until September 2016, thus I am permitted to have an internship for three months by my supervisor, Dr. Sylvine.

Finding an internship is not a piece of cake, it needs patience, dedication and networking. I was trying to send my CV and motivation letter to several companies in Angers, such as hotels, restaurants, museums, castles, travel agencies, camp sites and even tourism office.

I keep searching and asking solution to my friends and also the previous DDIP student year 2014, Akzar. He recommended me to apply to a small company of accommodation, which then he mentioned as a Tree house. Shortly, I was accepted and today is my second week to work here in Domaine de Saint Jean.

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One of the tree houses in Domaine de Saint Jean.

Targeting Escapist Tourists

Domaine de Saint Jean is located at the little village, named Saint-Jean-des-Mauvrets. It is about 20 km or 30 minutes’ drive from Angers. This beautiful village perches nicely between Saumur and Angers, offering an attraction of tranquility, escaping from hustle and bustle of the city.

The owner of this domaine, Madame Aude de Quatrebarbes, told me that she and his husband found this idea with the purpose of making profit of the abandoned forest area and castle which is close to their home. In 2013, they started to build three cabanes, and until now, they have five cabanes, with Lov’nid is the newest. Lov’nid looks like a giant cocoon and recently becomes the most favorite for the couples.

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The bridge to reach the tree house, adding more adventurous experience.

Tree Houses Spreading Across France

As a matter of fact, Domaine de Saint Jean is actually not the only one. There are almost 30 tree houses spreading across France. They are even interconnected with a network called La Cabane en L’air. This new variation product of tourism is recently emerging in France, attracting those escapism who are badly in need for total solitude and relaxation.

In fact, this is also in line with new tourist motivation. The unique sensation of staying in tree house becomes the main magnet. People are attracted to be back to nature, being relaxed in the middle of the forest and woken up by chirping of birds.

Just as Swarbrooke et al (2003:59) argued that the majority of tourists’ experiences include some degree of escapism, and many people would express the need to ‘get away from it all’ as an important motive for taking a holiday.

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Inside the tree house

On the contrary in Bali, tourism is sometimes blamed for the negative impact towards the environment. The philosophy called Tri Hita Karana is now strongly emphasized, especially Palemahan with the relationship to environment.  Inevitably as the demand of tourism is high, the land conversion is also higher, as quoted from Le Monde in 2012, it is stated that:

“700 hectares de terrain sont convertis chaque année en hôtels, résidences de luxe pour riches étrangers ou simplement en routes destinées à améliorer les voies de communication de cette île”

“Every year, 700 hectares of lands are converted into hotels, luxury residences for the rich foreigners or simply the roads in order to improve the connection of this island”

Type of Ecotourism

Tree house actually could be one of many alternative solutions. Briefly, besides becoming new tourism variation product, this tree house could also be one of the ecotourism implementation, which in the same time could decrease the number of land conversion.

Last but not least, instead of cutting trees to make accommodation, it’s way better to make trees become an accommodation. ****

References:

www.domainedesaintjean.com

www.lacabaneenlair.com

http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2012/ 07/20/bali-c-est-fini_1736348_3210.html, on the article entitled: “Bali, c’est fini?”, published on July 23, 2012, written by Bruno Philip