Just outside the village of St Aubin is a beautiful old stone farmhouse sleeping ten. L’Hirondelle is that rare treat, a place that manages to combine stylishness and space with a friendly, homely feel. Imagine a light, airy ground floor with a conservatory off the open-plan living space, an open fire for winter, dining for 18 inside and out, and an extraordinarily well-equipped kitchen – doesn’t everyone need an ice cream maker? All is a pleasing mix of old and new, and that extends to the simpler Le Papillon, the cottage next door, with beams, wood-burner and a children’s room to delight all ages: toys, games, dressing up box and tipi. You’re ten minutes from the markets of Monflanquin and five minutes from the river (jump in a canoe) yet all you hear is birdsong and the occasional moo. On these two acres are a summerhouse, a steam barrel and a sauna, an orchard and jacuzzis, table tennis, boules and three decked pools; one is heated for winter stays. Hire bikes, visit vineyards, get merry round the barbecue, and book a night off – a private chef can be arranged to cook for your entire party. Hurrah!