Tucked away off the coast of France, just a short hop from La Rochelle, the photogenic little island of Ile de Re is a dreamily old-fashioned, romantic escape.

The newly opened Villa Clarisse is charm itself. Decorated in a super-calming white palette, each of the nine suites offers ultra-comfy beds with cloud-soft pillows, spa-like bathrooms, working fireplaces and views over the bustling port of Saint Martin.

Explore the island on bicycles, stopping off at one of the seafront cabanes, where you can picnic on freshly caught oysters.

FLIGHT TIME: 2 hours

WOW FACTOR: Fine dining in the candlelit courtyard of sister hotel Hotel de Toiras, right on the harbour.

GO: Superior Rooms from £133, B&B (www.villa-clarisse.fr). Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies to La Rochelle from £40 one-way.