A short stroll from Chateau d’Oléron’s tree-lined market square is an elegant hotel that first welcomed guests in the 17th century. Charming owners Laetitia and Marc bought and renovated the original hotel in 2004, extending into adjoining properties to create eight stylish en-suite rooms. Window boxes and pale blue shutters add a flash of colour to the fresh, whitewashed façade, while striking work by local artists is displayed in the salon and the bedrooms. Tranquillity reigns here – sleep deeply in wonderfully comfortable beds and pamper yourself with delicious Keiji products… Oléron is famous for seafood, particularly oysters and mussels; gourmands can indulge in regional specialities in the intimate dining room or eat al fresco in the luscious plant-filled courtyard. If you can bear to leave Jardins d’Aliénor, the island is crisscrossed with footpaths and cycleways, and framed by sandy beaches where you can take to the water on a surfboard, sailing boat or canoe. Back on the mainland, admire Royan’s Belle Époque villas or take a day-trip to La Rochelle.