Slip through the watery web of Ile de Ré marshes and into the peaceful village of Loix. There’s no passing traffic and it’s wonderfully quiet. Grey shutters blink sleepily on the whitewashed walls of this century-old fisherman’s cottage, set amongst others just as pretty. Summertime hollyhocks, roses and hydrangeas line the courtyard; light up the gas barbecue and dine under exquisite white wisteria if it’s in season. The cottage is all one level – pale golden floor tiles in the open plan living/kitchen area, with modern sofas, simple wood furniture and all you need to cook simple meals. Understated elegance and French country charm in the bedrooms too, one on either side – painted furniture, framed watercolours, French quilts. Bathrooms have tiled showers and porcelain sinks; there’s also a quirky atelier, now a laundry room. Parking space is 100 metres away; none outside as it’s such a little street. It’s five minutes on foot to the centre of the village; hire bicycles to explore more of the island. A kilometre away in the marshes is a splendid oyster and shellfish ‘cabane’ where you can eat simply and well.