The Atlantic coast where discreet upper-class French families stay generation after generation in elegant Belle Epoque villas is safe, fashionable and wonderfully French. Alexandre, who used to work in fine old luxury hotels, bought this famous Art Deco establishment in 2015 and has renovated it for the 21st century. He’s created a beautiful salon de thé – a light, modern space where his favourite colours, coral and turquoise, shine out from furnishings, artworks and objets, and where a sumptuous buffet awaits you each morning. Huge windows between the original columns give views of the sky and the luxuriant surrounding vegetation. The place is a combination of curiosity cabinet and family home. The bedrooms have excellent linen and will soon be as design-perfect as the common areas. The region offers family activities galore. You can ride on the beach (just 50 metres away), walk the coastal path, explore rock pools at low tide, visit Palmyre’s open zoo, the aquarium in fine old La Rochelle, and see the chapel and royal bedchamber in France’s last inhabited lighthouse at Cordouan.