Step into Denys’ childhood holiday house to generous spaces, 200-year-old tiles, wax polish wafting from country antiques, and know that you are in a much-loved home. There is a happy feel to the house and spreading garden and your kind, intelligent hosts are always ready to help. You have two comfortable timber-clad sitting rooms hung with original paintings and framed prints; the convivial kitchen is filled with garden light or the glow from a chunky metal chandelier, and has all mod cons. Bedrooms are welcoming, their simplicity leavened by hefty beams and splashes of colour, antique bedheads and armoires giving an unflowery country look – nothing modern or fake here – and the three bathrooms have been nicely renovated. The smaller, prettily decorated apartments, with beds in their living rooms, are best used by members of the same group who can enjoy the communal rooms in the main house. Outside, the grounds ramble charmingly; you can truly relax here. St Hilaire is an easy walk for shopping and its museum of prehistoric life; the beautiful sandy beaches are just 3km and the islands are always worth a trip.