Drive through the narrow arch into the vast courtyard and history leaps out to grab you. This was originally a fortified stronghold – the tower is 13th century – to protect against English reprisals after Duke William of Normandy conquered England…. exposed timbers and limestone floors announce the Norman heritage. Each courtyard building houses eight to ten rooms. One amazing suite has stone steps down to a double bedroom then up a spiral stair to a children’s room in the tower with tiny windows. Handsome, solid furniture combines with pieces that are plainer, and rustic-medieval is the look: a butter churn in the corridor, an awe-inspiring armoire, a well-worn kneading trough: reminders that this was a working farm. Off the huge breakfast room and restaurant is a vaulted, stone-flagged sitting area with a log fire at one end: great spot for after-dinner coffee. The bright breakfast room and terrace face south to catch the morning sun. Young, friendly, professional Isabelle Sileghem and her husband keep this place humming, with help from a devoted staff. It’s big and rooms vary: book ahead for the best.