The River Autize flows at the end of the garden, its gentle murmur setting the tone for a peaceful holiday here. You can swim in a heated saltwater pool, then enjoy an outside solar-heated shower, spa and tree-shaded sofa. The thick stone walls and ceramic tiles of this 18th-century farmhouse keep it cool in summer. In winter, you can cosy up by the fire in a lounge hung with pretty paintings. All is natural and green, from sand-and-chalk walls to reclaimed elm in the custom-made kitchen. Lovely to cook here, then dine under a soaring, sloping ceiling or out on a silvery deck complete with electric grill. Beautifully restored furniture and bright fabrics complement the neutral colour schemes of each bedroom. Two are upstairs, with green views and shutters for when you want to block out the sun. One twin is downstairs, with an open shower and old bread oven in the bathroom. It’s an easy cycle on borrowed bikes to Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, and a pleasant drive to Niort, Puy de Fou and the coastline around La Rochelle.