The word "hideaway" is too frequently bandied about in holiday brochures, promising rural idylls of the kind that would be perfect were it not for the motorway that grazes the back garden.
However, Ty Bois, a self-catering chalet in Finistère, western Brittany, is a place that truly merits the tag. It's tucked away amid five acres of woodland and accessed by a bumpy track that culminates in a steep climb through an agapanthus-strewn garden. Drivers need to grit their teeth and put their foot down to avoid ending up in the bushes.
The chalet clings barnacle-like to the banks of the River Aulne at the mouth of the Crozon peninsula and, due to its wood and glass exterior, is practically invisible from across the water. While civilisation is fairly close to hand – the village of Rosnoë*is five miles away, while Quimper, with its bistros and boutiques, is a half-hour drive – you certainly get the impression of being in the middle of nowhere. And, the fact that the chalet is situated in the Parc Régional d'Armorique, a nature reserve where further construction has been forbidden, means there's no chance of it acquiring any neighbours.
Ty Bois's interiors have been recently renovated. The downstairs living and dining areas are open plan but they have been made cosier by a compact zinc and wood kitchen, timber walls and floorboards, large leather sofas and a wood-burning stove. (Logs are provided.)
Ethically crafted from local cypress trees, the veranda is a terrific spot for sunbathing and al fresco dining, in the company of the resident birds and lizards. Look closely at the eaves after dark and you might even spot some bats.
Exposed beams, distressed furniture, lamps fashioned from teapots and crisp white linen make Ty Bois a quirky yet stylish place to bed down. There are three bedrooms – two doubles and a single – and two bathrooms stocked with towels and toiletries, plus acres of storage. A travel cot can be provided on request.
The food and drink
Complimentary bottles of local cider, apple juice and biscuits await weary travellers and there are cooking oils, condiments and eco-friendly cleaning products in the kitchen. Rosnoë*has a small shop, and there's a supermarket 10 minutes' drive away in Le Faou. Owners Clare and Andrew have thoughtfully compiled a list of their favourite local restaurants to suit all budgets, while other guests have also left their recommendations.
There's a hi-fi and DVD player in the living room along with an up-to-date selection of books and DVDs. In the shed you'll find barbecue equipment and fishing rods. Guests have use of two kayaks to explore the river, there are lots of local walks (maps provided in the chalet), and there are some superb sandy beaches on the Crozon peninsula, just 15 minutes' drive away.
Narrow stairs make the chalet unsuitable for wheelchair users. Children are welcome, though the steep garden is unfenced so parents are advised to keep an eye on little ones.
Fiona Sturges travelled to France with Brittany Ferries (0871 244 0744; brittany-ferries.co.uk). A week's self-catering break at Ty Bois through One Off Places (01285 750713; oneoff places.co.uk) costs from £710 to £1,370 per week.
Ty Bois, Kergadalen, 29590 Rosnoën, Brittany, France.Reuse content