A ten-minute walk from the charming, bustling harbour of La Rochelle is an 18th-century merchant’s house with an immaculate décor and a secret garden. Olivier and Sabine live on the top floor and look after you exceedingly well. Bedrooms and bathrooms are large and luxurious – polished floors, perfect beds, a pleasing, neutral palette. We particularly liked the wine ‘cave’ bedroom at the end of the garden: secluded, vaulted, lit with a warm glow and blessed with a sun terrace. Breakfast, served at small tables in an L-shaped living space, is a treat, and if the sun shines, you spill into the garden.