Behind high stone walls in a peaceful, pretty village (just two bars, one petrol station and a 10th-century church) is a 15th-century château with outbuildings – now gîtes. Each has its own terrace but the grounds are the thing: laid to lawn, scented with roses and heaped with treats for children. There are swings, slides, sandpit and trampoline, a boules pitch and a five-a-side pitch. And more: a lofty play barn stocked with everything from pedal carts to ping pong, and two saltwater pools (one for tinies) with sheep-and-field views. As for the gîtes, they are spacious and comfortable with a functional décor (squishy leather sofas, fans for hot nights, scatter rugs on shiny floors). Curtains are check or floral, mattresses inner sprung or foam – and regularly replaced: David and Nicki could not be more thoughtful or more helpful. There are restaurants and a Saturday market in Villebois Lavalette (7km), Nicki is keen to cook for guests and offers a range of delicious home-cooked meals. No wonder families return.