In the centre of a small, quiet village in the southern Vendée, near the local fruit farm and a short bike ride from the boulangerie, through a gateway between wisteria-clad walls to a large sunny courtyard, a perfect spot for an outdoor lunch. Gather the clan: the Logis, a classic 19th-century French country villa, sleeps up to 12; Les Lavandes, a smaller, detached cottage, works well for up to eight. Children love the extensive grounds, with swings, cricket oval, trampoline, toddler-friendly heated pool, even a football pitch. Relax in spacious rooms in calming shades of yellow; sink into the leather sofa in the library in front of the old fireplace. This is traditional country life: wooden floors and original patterned tiles, a good scattering of rugs, long floral curtains and time-worn furniture. In the cottage, simple furnishings, sloping ceilings and low beams for plainer, rustic living. Well-equipped kitchens, comfortable beds and unfussy bathrooms throughout. Spend days cycling in the forest of Mervent, exploring historic Fontenay-le-Comte, or lazing on the beach of La Faute Sur Mer under an hour away.