Habitants Atypiques

Text and Photographs by Alexa Brunet


They live in the country, off the beaten track. Their personal beliefs led them to live life differently, away from the big city. They acted as builders, either alone or with family or a group of friends. They want a simple and healthy dwelling, to live in the open air, in trees, on the water or even underground.
Their so-called ‘wild’ constructions are full of charm and ingenuity and provide an alternative way of thinking and living. The concept of this autonomous dwelling is part of a global process, fulfilling everyday needs : to eat, keep warm, to be clothed and to travel in as eco-friendly a way as possible. Armed with their convictions, energy and new ideas, their commitment is expressed through action.

To respect their beliefs they have to break the rules; to be a responsible citizen involves finding alternative ways of self-building and questioning the way our society functions. Both original and rebellious, their houses are like them. They are eager to share their experience and, thanks to initiatives that were isolated to start with, networks have built up and innovative housing projects are seeing the light of day in rural areas. Their choices force us to question our current way of life and remind us that we can live differently in the countryside.
Through word of mouth we set out to meet these unusual dwellers throughout France, and to discover and share their daily lives.