The village of overturned boats
In the north of France, about ten kilometers from Boulogne-sur-Mer and fifty kilometers from the largest French passenger port of Calais, lies the quiet fishing village of Ekian, whose population does not exceed three thousand people. On the territory of the village there is an area entirely consisting of houses with very unusual roofs.
At some point it may even seem that the raging sea has thrown a flock of long-suffering killer whales, characterized by a contrasting black and white color, to the shore. However, if you take a closer look, you will find fishing boats turned upside down. Photo 3.
It turns out that the tradition has been used by local fishermen for more than a hundred years as a roof over their heads. Nowadays, such peculiar dwellings attract exacting travelers to Ekian who adore the original beach holiday.
In the 19th century, the inhabitants of this small fishing village often saw old wooden boats unfit for use on the beach.But instead of letting out holey frames for firewood, especially fishing families in need of money turned the boats into roofs for improvised home-made dwellings. The area in which such houses appeared was called the Quartier des quilles en l’air, that is, the quarter of the keels hanging in the air.
The boats picked up on the seashore were first saturated with resin to become impermeable to moisture. Then the builders turned the tarred boats upside down and used as a roof, while the bases of the houses were made of wood or stone.
Poor fishermen had very few things and household items, so the interior of such a fisherman’s house was extremely modest. The dwelling, as a rule, consisted of a single room in which all family members, without exception, ate and slept.
Stoves in such houses were used both for heating and for cooking. Natural sunlight was not enough, since the tiny window and the narrow doorway almost did not let the sun through.
As a result of the numerous bombings during World War II, the quarter of the keels suspended in the air wasactually destroyed. In the only surviving boat house for a long time housed the workshop of the artist Paul Kristol. Today this house belongs to a private owner and is closed for tourists.
Although the quarter of the keels dangling in the air disappeared from the face of the earth for fifty years, the tradition to build boat houses on the shore was never forgotten in the fishing village of Ekian.
The original houses became one of the most important symbols of the history of the region, so in the nineties of the 20th century local authorities decided to revive the unusual Quilles en l'air quarter by building a series of modern “fishing” improved planning houses near the beach in order to attract local holidaymakers to Ekian and foreign tourists who prefer original housing.
Equipped in accordance with modern technology of comfort, new houses with their keels dangling in the air are located almost at the same place where the poor fishermen quarter was once located.
Today, renting the smallest house will cost about 323 euros per week of stay, while a more spacious “fishing” dwelling will cost about 756 euros.You might also want to relax on the French coast and spend some amazing days in the unique boat house of the village of Eucan ...