Emma, Don and their young son Henry, the lovely owners of these gîtes, have been here just a year, repairing and decorating like demons, and their back-to-nature plan is already a success. In beautiful Périgord countryside, it’s an uncontrived no-frills spotless set-up – not an en-suite in sight – with new bedding on vintage iron bedsteads, good new furniture and kitchen equipment. The big quirky barn (mind your head getting into bed) has a vast sitting room, plenty of nooks and crannies and two good roof terraces; the stone and brick farmhouse contains a fine stone fireplace – shared with a bathroom. The whole place is geared to outdoor life with children, and you need only walk out of the gate to wander through miles of pasture and woodland. Further afield are bastide towns, abbeys and lively markets galore. Come back to plunge into the pool, fly high on the swings and watch the donkey-feeding session at tea time; then possibly light your woodburner on a cool evening (logs are free).