If I could, I would...

Every so often, we come across a French property that knocks us for six. This month, Emma Rawle reveals why this traditional house in Charente-Maritime is her dream buy

By the time it reaches March I am always longing for some sun and dreaming of holidays in warmer climes to shake off those winter blues so when looking for a property my top criteria is somewhere sunny! Claimed to be the second sunniest place in France thanks to its micro-climate, Charente-Maritime certainly ticks that box, plus this property is only 30 minutes from the sea and has a swimming pool and 5,000m² garden, making it an enticing prospect after being stuck indoors all winter.

Next of my list of must-haves is character and this traditional Charentaise house caught my eye with its exposed stone walls, wooden beams and beautiful shutters – there is even a well in the garden. Yet it is not dark and gloomy like many traditional properties, fully renovated, this house is light and bright with large windows to let in the French sun. The house has been well-arranged to take advantage of the location, the garden faces south with open views of the green countryside and the master bedroom, sitting room and several other bedrooms overlook the garden. Not only does the master bedroom have great views, it also has an en-suite bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe, the latter being another of my must-haves.

Although in a private location with surrounding countryside the house is not isolated, near the small village of Nieul le Virouil with shops. On the market for €545,900 you get a lot for your money. As well as the main five-bedroom house and large garden, there is a gîte with independent access that I could rent out to holiday makers or use as a guest house for visitors. For those who are thinking about making money from the property there is a large pool house that could be converted into another gîte, but personally I would keep it as a pool house – going to need somewhere to store all the sun loungers!

www.beauxvillages.com