François, an architect specialising in restoring old buildings, Marie-Yvonne, relaxed and efficient, and their children live in a creeper-covered wing of this grand château. The entertaining brochure tells the family’s story: François’ grandfather built up a successful centre for training show jumpers alongside an established thoroughbred stud; then, in the nineties, after ten years of empty stables, La Potardière began taking in stallions for the summer. Now, horse-loving guests ride up on their own mounts from all over France… the fine approach includes mares and foals grazing beneath the oaks. Château bedrooms are a graceful mix of prettiness and elegance, polished parquet and fresh flowers; rooms in the stables are less formal, cosier and have their own wicker-furnished terrace. A glorious place for a horse-mad child – though all children love it here: fields, a safe and secluded pool, billiards, table football, a Wendy house full of toys. There’s an honesty bar and relaxed seating, a piano you may play and sociable apéritifs on Saturdays. The welcome is superb.