On the edge of cobbled Collobrières, with wonderful views of the Massif des Maures, is an 18th-century staging post, a delicious modern hotel. Its inspired creators, Olivier and his wife (chef) Nili, speak several languages, embrace all nationalities and love what they do. Each elegant, simple room is named after a precious stone – sapphire, jade, coral; pick the colour of your choice on booking. Imagine cool floor tiles, glowing paintings, thick cream curtains, repro Louis XIV tables, bright mosaic’d showers and beautiful stone ceilings washed in white. The Pearl Suite has three windows and is full of light, and some rooms have divans that double up as child beds (families are welcomed with open arms). Outside: a secret garden with an eco-friendly pool, fenced and safe for children, and pretty tables at which guests linger over dinner under the trees and listen to the flowing river. As for the food, there are four different kinds of breakfast – from Scandinavian to continental – served until late. Dinner too is delicious; the wines are from the bio vineyards of Correns. Beyond: the palms and sands of Le Lavandou.