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Inn of the Month: France's Hôtel Fort de l'Océan

Always dreamed of owning a maison de mer in France?Save yourself the travails of proprietorship and check into the Hôtel Fort de l'Océan, an exceedingly homey inn on the rough-and-tumble Brittany coast. Catherine Painvain, owner of the fashionable children's wear company Tartine et Chocolat, steered the loving transformation of a stolid fort that dates from the 18th century. Planted on a rocky spur in the seaside town of Le Croisic, Fort de l'Océan is a three-hour ride from Paris on the high-speed train. Nine cosseting guest rooms are boldly decorated in stripes, checks, and exuberant florals from the pedigreed English fabric house Colefax & Fowler. Luminous bathrooms have chunky beveled white tiles like those in the Paris Métro, raw granite floors, polished granite sink surrounds, and shower curtains embroidered with the word L'EAU. Life at the inn is all in the details: Limoges porcelain breakfast service, soufflé-like eiderdowns, interior shutters, oversize windows with ocean views, even teak terraces. Fort de l'Océan seems to throw its arms around you in welcome.

Pointe du Croisic, Le Croisic; 33-2/40-15-77-77, fax 33-2/40-15-77-80; doubles from $117.

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