In a bucolic hamlet of thatched 17th-century cottages is a gîte in two landscaped acres, perfect for groups or families, with a big pool with a retractable roof. Enter La Chaumière to find a light and lofty salon with comfy sofas, antique pine chairs and silk flowers, flat-screen TV, DVDs and WiFi – and you can curl up in front of the fire with a good book and a glass of wine on less clement days. All the bedrooms are cottage-cosy, with comfortable beds and floral linens, and coloured towels in spotless bathrooms. Cooks will thrive in the kitchen where painted wood units hide a multitude of implements and there are wooden tables for family meals on country-style china. The welcome basket is exceptional: coffee, tea, bread, local eggs, croissants, fruit, local crepes, biscuits and homemade jams… but you can be lazy and organise supper with the delightful English owners opposite. There’s riding, fishing and golf nearby, and shops, bars and restaurant in Quistinic.