A mid 18th-century house in the centre of Bayeux, this is an architectural jewel. It was built for a botanist who worked at Versailles and specimen trees still stand in the grounds. In those days, carriages would rumble through the archway and enter the central ‘cour d’honneur’; still cobbled, the yard is an exquisite spot from which to glimpse a fascinating range of building styles. Delighted to share all he knows about this house and its history, Anthony, with impeccable English, is an exceptionally generous young host. Inside are white walls, parquet étoile floors and a curved and suspended staircase, one of only two in France. And such beautiful things: antiques and tapestries, brocade chairs and gilt-framed mirrors, a grand piano and a chandelier from Compiègne where the Empress Josephine lived. Bedrooms are elegant, spacious and sober, in keeping with the history. One bedroom, on the first floor, is a listed ‘monument historique’, its panelling immaculately revived in regulation browns and golds. Other rooms have pale stone walls; all are uncluttered and serene. What value!