Équihen-Plage, the little village of house-boats (France)

Location of Équihen-Plage, in France. Map made with Maptorian vector maps.

Today, Sunday, I got up with the intention of taking up again the notes on geography. Yesterday I found in a copy of La Ilustración Artística corresponding to October 12,1908 a mention of a picturesque place:

There are on the coasts of the English Channel and half a dozen kilometres away from Boulogne-sur-Mer, a small village called Equihen, which enjoys a certain reputation for the exquisite clams that are caught in its waters. Apart from this, the village in question is only known to a few bathers who, fleeing from the hustle and bustle and the expensive life of fashionable spas, come to its quiet beach in search of health for their body and rest for their spirit.

But it has more than its clams and beach to attract the attention of outsiders, something that if more generally known would surely provide a good contingent of tourists, who could see there a spectacle perhaps unique in its class and as interesting as new. We are referring to the houses of many of its inhabitants, houses that are nothing else (…) than old inverted-boats, in whose sides doors and windows have been opened and whose interior has been arranged in such a way that a family can live more or less comfortably in it.

The image attracts a lot of attention, so I decided to find out if there are still similar constructions in the same village today. And, in fact, a simple search assaults us with a thousand and one images because the chronicler of the early twentieth century was right: the place was going to attract tourism. The houseboats (les quilles en l’ air) of Équihen-Plage, completely refurbished to the present style, nevertheless maintain the style of the fishermen who built such structures with old inverted boat hulls. The place is famous for this and today these late nineteenth and early twentieth century dwellings are part of the local heritage.

Equihen-Plage nowadays. Image of Bateloupreaut. CC-By-Sa.