the tchanquée cabin n°3 is reborn from its ashes

Bird Island was celebrating on June 21. Not to celebrate music, but one of the emblems of the Arcachon Basin. The island has indeed found tchanquée cabin no. 3, destroyed last November. It was inaugurated this Friday.

A craze from the four corners of France

A little flashback. This is not the first time that the cabin with the red shutters, from the top of its stilts, has a new look. Built in 1883 to allow monitoring of oyster beds, it was destroyed for the first time by the storm of 1943before rising from its ashes in 1945. Inside, no water, no electricity, three rooms not really furnished but full of memories for the locals who regularly came to Bird Island.

Becoming one of the postcard images of the Arcachon Basin, the onslaught of the sea and time, will gradually weaken the building. We will have to act to prevent its collapse.

In 2019, the town of Teste-de-Buch, which manages the place following a delegation from the Coastal Conservatory, decided to begin work to consolidate the stilts. But faced with the elements of nature, this is not enough, we will have to resolve to destroy the cabin to rebuild it identically. As was done in 2007 for its twin, the tchanqué cabin n°53 with the white shutter.

The bill looks steep. 1,100,000 euros. will be necessary. Half of the sum will be contributed by the town of Teste-de-Buch, the State, the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region, Europe, the Marine Park and the Coastal Conservatory. But also patrons and individuals. Not less than 440 donors from all over France and not just Girondins made it possible to collect more than 150,000 euros via the Heritage Foundation websiteworn by Stéphane Bern. A source of pride for the mayor of Teste-de-Buch, Patrick Dravet, very attached to the tchanqué cabins. “Children broke their piggy banks to give 5 euros. People have donated up to 3000 euros. It is truly a joy for us to know that this emblematic place of the Arcachon Bay is close to their hearts..”

A special construction site

The reconstruction work was not an easy task. We had to let winter pass, face a rainy spring but above all get in tune with the tides. The project managers therefore used the Lego system to assemble the new cabin in the space of a month and a half. Everything was prepared on land like the cuts to be assembled on Bird Island. All within a given time. The work was scheduled to be completed in June. Goal achieved.

So how long will it resist the effects of the elements?We hope between 40 and 50 years“, explains Stéphane Roy, project manager on this Cabane Tchanquée site. “It is thanks to the wood species that its aging will be delayed. The piles are made of Azobé wood which was imported from Gabon. It is a very resistant wood. The wood of the platform is oak and the structure of the cabin comes from the Teste-de-Buch forest.“Untreated wood to meet the specifications from an environmental point of view.

No specific plans for the future

You may be wondering what this cabin will be used for now that it has been given a new lease of life. For the mayor of Teste-de-Buch, Patrick Dravet, no real specific projects. “For the moment, we’re not going to do anything with it, other than being able to admire it from the outside. It is not big enough to make a museum. And above all, we can only accommodate 19 people at the same time on the structure. We really stay in an emblematic place.

Without forgetting that they are located in a wetland where no less than 150 species of birds are concentrated, as well as preserved fauna. This summer again, tourists will be able to observe the two cabins, only from afar, from the boats that tour Bird Island.

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