The Revêtison estate rests amid the green waves and sprawling forests of the Vendée bocage: remote, beautiful, silent. You may stay in La Longère, a low converted barn shot through with natural light and warm pastel shades. Country-comfortable furniture fits perfectly with the sitting room’s rustic sloping ceilings, patio doors and creamy sandstone. Original features intrigue – those stone niches were once chicken roosts – but tiled floors shine, cushions are plump and linen is top quality. Lunch outside – terrace and grassy garden are overlooked neither by the second gîte nor the chambre d’hôtes – or set up dinner at the long oak table. Lovely to laze: wallow in the shared heated pool, ping-pong in the games room, try your hand at pétanque and local ‘palets’ – great fun. French-English couple Corinne and Steve are on hand for babysitting, the occasional table d’hôte meal, for directions to wonderful cobbled La Rochelle or the Puy du Fou park, and know all the best lakes, forests, villages and castles to visit. And if you crave sun, sand and sea, the Vendée coast has some of France’s best beaches.