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Les Maisons de Bouteilles (Bottle Houses) Prince Edward Island

Is there anything better than finding an unexpected roadside attraction when road-tripping? I think not. During one of my road trips through Prince Edward Island, I was driving along Route 11 when I saw a sign for 'Les Maisons de Bouteilles'. Bottle Houses? I was intrigued and made the decision to stop and explore. Come meander with me through these marvellous Bottle Houses to see why you should add a visit to your Prince Edward Island itinerary.

Exterior side wall of a bottle house with a lighthouse in the background

Prince Edward Island, or PEI, is the smallest of the Canadian provinces. It is an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with approximately 176,000 residents, making it the most densely populated province in the nation. PEI is known for its mild yet changeable weather. Summers are warm, with average temperatures rarely exceeding 30 C. Winters are moderately cold and long.


Map of PEI with location of the Bottle Houses marked

 

The Bottle Houses of Prince Edward Island

Édouard Arsenault, a retired lighthouse keeper from Cap-Egmont, created the Bottle Houses beginning in 1979. Édouard was inspired by a postcard from his daughter, who had visited a glass castle on BC's Vancouver Island. He soon began gathering bottles from local restaurants and community dance halls. As he began to build, neighbours would drop off their bottles, too. The houses include more than 25,000 bottles!

a large bottle shaped cement structure with glass bottles embedded.
Entrance to Maisons de Bouteilles

The staff is remarkably friendly and eager to share stories and point out interesting features. A browse through the gift shop reveals unique souvenirs and treasures perfect for taking home.


6891, Route 11, Cap-Egmont, PEI

Open May - October 10:00 - 18:00

Admission: $10


Édouard's first structure was a six-gabled house. He carefully cemented bottles to create walls and architectural details. As the house took shape, locals encouraged Édouard to keep building and turn his property into a tourist attraction. The first visitors were welcomed in 1981.

An exterior wall showing the ends of clear, brown and green glass bottles
Exterior wall of the Six-Gabled House

Édouard continued construction over the next 4 years, adding a tavern, chapel, and gift shop. The surrounding gardens were expanded, adding a goldfish pond and mini lighthouse.

A pond with fountain, surrounded by greenery and the 6-Gabled Bottle House in the background
The Bottle House Gardens

Six Gabled House

The Six-Gabled House was the first structure built. It includes approximately 12,000 bottles. When approaching from the outside, visitors will be struck by the placement of the bottles, which take advantage of each's shape, size, and colour. The sunlight splatters rainbow reflections in every direction.

The front entrance of the house with walls of bottles
The Six-Gabled House

Inside, however, is even more impressive. The house is divided into three main sections, separated by bottle-patterned walls. The colour and light is stunning.

Light shning thro9ugh walls made of glass bottles, with a design using green, clear, and brown glass
Inside the house

The Tavern

With a lot of bottles and high enthusiasm, Édouard continued to build. His second structure is the Tavern, made from approximately 8,000 bottles. The bar inside this hexagon-shaped building also displays a collection of bottles deemed too beautiful to be cemented into walls.

A display of interesting bottles on a counter made of glass blottles. The wall behind and a rounded pillar, also made with bottles, can also been seen
Inside the Tavern

The Chapel

The chapel was the final building constructed, made of approximately 10,000 bottles and colourful votive holders donated by the local Catholic parishes. The Chapel has hosted services, weddings, and Édouard's memorial service.

An altar and nave created with bottles. The back wall includes a brown symbol on a background of clear, surrounded by green bottles. The alter is a simple arch-shaped wall about waist high
The altar of the Chapel

The Chapel is positioned to take advantage of the setting sun when the light streams in from behind the altar. The quality of construction and design shows the growth of Édouard's skills.


The Gardens/Lighthouse

The gardens surrounding the houses are colourful, fragrant, and peaceful. A noticeable feature is a lighthouse feature. This lighthouse is a replica of the Cap-Egmont Lighthouse, where Édouard served as its final keeper before the light was automated.

A low perspective view of the white wooden model lighthouse about 9 ft tall with red light house

Final Thoughts

Les Maisons de Bouteilles is a unique and beautiful excursion during a visit to Prince Edward Island. The attraction is not large, so I'm not sure I would make it the focus of a day trip but when combined with nearby Anne of Green Gables sites, it makes a wonderful day.

Small purple flowers, orange pansies, and taller white flowers against a bottle wall

You can pick up a brochure at the gift shop to follow an informative self-guided tour. The Bottle Houses can be explored in less than an hour, but architecture and photography fans will likely want longer.

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9 comentários


Convidado:
13 de mai.

Oh wow this is super creative and sustainable. Thank god he didn't build it in Europe where most countries have a bottle fee. I've seen bottles reused only once so far in Spain, it would be interesting to learn more about using them as building material and how practical (e.g. insulation) the construction turns out. The lightening in the house is defo a spectactular feature.


Carolin | <a href="https://solotravelstory.com/">Solo Travel Story</a>

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Lyn (aka Jazz)
Lyn (aka Jazz)
17 de mai.
Respondendo a

He built it before there was bottle fees in Canada, so he was an early pioneer of reuse/recycle environmental thinking -- although I suspect it was more about experimentation and light. Because Edouard never planned to create homes, there was little thought about insulation but that is an intriguing thought. I think I would love to have a solarium with walls of coloured bottles.

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Convidado:
10 de mai.

I've only seen images of these online but never knew where they were! That's so cool. I wish I had the creativity to use items in new ways. People are so cool.

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Lyn (aka Jazz)
Lyn (aka Jazz)
17 de mai.
Respondendo a

I agree... I see projects like this and am gob-smacked at the creativity of people. There is another great example of bottle houses at the Three Valley Gap ghost town in British Columbia.

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Convidado:
09 de mai.

Now here's a vision of recycling materials that goes beyond what we're used to!

Without a doubt, the constructions are very creative and definitely unique! Both inside and out they have a very peculiar artistic touch and the use of different colors of glass to make patterns is quite original, as well as allowing light of various shades to enter.

I think it's quite a fun activity to visit this building!


Angela | Blonde Around The World Travel -

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Convidado:
30 de abr.

An architecture buff or a fan can truly find inspiration from this interesting stop. Of course it's a surprising treat to day trippers too in breaking the Canadian long journey. This reminds me of our stops as well that we often do while driving around Europe and crossing borders. In those stops, we found little places that inspire and offer comfort #flyingbaguette


Jan - https://flyingbaguette.com/

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Emma Gilbert
Emma Gilbert
29 de abr.

I was holding my breath waiting to see what the inside looked like. It did not disappoint. What a unique attraction, and very creative. From the outside it seems to jazz up the usual housing exterior walls, from the inside it almost looks like one of those Turkish mosaic lamps with the pieces of glass and cement like stuff between holding it together. Very interesting. I'd absolutely want to visit

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