A winding side road snakes down from the sleepy Savoyard village of St-Albans-des-Hurtières to a former watermill with a magnificent panorama. At once welcoming, light and airy, the lovingly renovated interior combines impressive craftsmanship with neat design: note the handmade staircase and the dining room table. Bedrooms are clean and tidy with interesting details, from a restored, original oak bed to handcrafted side tables. The well-equipped kitchen makes cooking a pleasure and the living room is airy yet cosy with a wood-burner; no frills, no chintz, but books, games, WiFi, and traditional Alpine touches. Sarah, the warm and cheerful owner, lives next door, lets you help yourself to veg and herbs that flourish outside. As for the garden, it’s idyllic, with bright flowerbeds, bubbling trout stream and a wisteria–shaded barbecue area decorated with old millstones. The surrounding mountains promise walks, cycling, skiing; by summer the welcoming local community hold festivals, fêtes and markets well worth exploring.