Your simple gîte is attached to Chris and Michelle’s wisteria-covered stone house. Inside, all is fresh, cosy and cottagey – a practical launch pad for heading out and exploring Vienne and the Charente.The open-plan ground floor has a kitchen in the corner, dining table and chairs for two, sofas with colourful cushions. Up wooden stairs to your beamed, blue bedroom – hop back down for the bathroom. No need to rush off to the shops when you get there – Chris and Michelle leave you a welcome meal on the first night, and all you need for a croissant, jam and coffee breakfast. You have your own seating area in front, with barbecue, and you can wander at will in the lovely garden (shared with your hosts’ B&B guests and a collection of cats), snooze in a hammock, laze in a walled, sun-trap pool, read under the olive trees with the scents of rosemary and lavender in the air. Charming Ruffec (watermill and abundance of shops) and the Valley of the Monkeys are nearby, along with heaps of local markets and historic buildings; Poitiers and Limoges are easy to reach too.