Just outside the village of St Aubin is this beautiful old stone farmhouse. L’Hirondelle is that rare treat, a place that manages to combine stylishness and space with a friendly, homely feel. Imagine a light, airy ground floor with a conservatory off the open-plan living space, an open fire for winter, and an extraordinarily well-equipped kitchen – doesn’t everyone need an ice cream maker? All is a pleasing mix of old and new. There’s also the simpler cottage next door, Le Papillon with beams, a wood-burner and a children’s room to delight all ages: toys, games, dressing up box and tipi. Take both places and come with family and friends – there’s space for up to 20. You’re ten minutes from the markets of Monflanquin and five minutes from the river (jump in a canoe) yet all you hear is birdsong and the occasional moo. On these two acres are a summerhouse, a steam barrel and a sauna, fruit trees and jacuzzi, table tennis, a playground, boules and two decked pools; one is heated for winter stays. Hire bikes, visit vineyards, get merry round the barbecue, and book a night off – a private chef can be arranged to cook for your entire party. Hurrah!