One of the loveliest and most authentic places in this selection. It is a place to chance upon, as if the house were too modest to seduce you in advance. The lucky ones who do will find an old Provençal farmhouse standing beneath the protective gaze of the sugarloaf mountain Le Baou. Beyond the outskirts of Vence, you are surrounded by birdsong and Laurence’s luscious terraced garden. Warm, cultured and full of life, she lives on the ground floor while the first floor, just below yours, is occupied by a quiet young ornithologist; your top-floor apartment is reached via open stone steps and a terrace that’s shaded by an ancient olive tree. Bedrooms are simple and cosy, beds dressed in fine linen. Both have elegant antique furniture and views through trees. There’s a refectory dining table in the kitchen with rush-seated chairs and a tiny but adorable sitting room. Drop into son Nicolas’ workshop for a chat, stroll down to the swimming holes and waterfalls of the Cagne river – audible from the house after heavy rain. Binoculars and bikes – all yours; children adore the dogs, geese and hens.