Ooh la la: Maison is French for bliss.

OUI OUI: Michel will bring your breakfast to you under the chestnut trees.
OUI OUI: Michel will bring your breakfast to you under the chestnut trees. Ann Rickard

SOME places you discover in your travels are so charming you simultaneously want to keep them to yourselves yet share with the world.

Les Marroniers in the village of La Bruguiere in the south of France is such a place.

An elegant chambre d'hote (B&B), owned and operated by Johnny and Michel, Les Marronniers is named after the two handsome chestnut trees in the front garden that welcome you and silently speak of good things inside this beautifully restored 19th century maison.

Johnny and Michel have been a couple for more than four decades and although they appear the quintessential odd couple at first - Johnny is a full-bodied Pom, Michel a dapper French man - they share an innate sense of style which is reflected in every corner of their maison and every nook of the flowered gardens.

In the stylish salon silver gleams, glassware sparkles, lamps glow and artworks draw the eye.

In the bedrooms, French linens and the warmth of wood and timber assure you you are in France.

By the large pool in the fragrant garden beneath an intensely blue sky you are in the region Van Gogh and Cezanne chose to paint their masterpieces.

But perhaps the highlight at Les Marronniers is breakfast. Sitting under the chestnut trees in the enclosed forecourt at a white-linen table set with silver waiting for Michel's footsteps to crunch over the pebbled grounds is magic.

Anticipation heightens as he delivers the best baguettes in the world to spread the creamy French butter on.

The croissants and pain au chocolat will be warm from the oven and the sweet red cherries and ripe pears in summer season will sing of the region.

Breakfast pleasure is heightened by Michel's pampering and gorgeous accent.

Johnny and Michel are as charming hosts as we've come across in our travels. We should keep them to ourselves, but we know they love to share their home with guests from all over the world - so we've disclosed our secret.


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