The family manor, a listed building, goes back to 1492: note the coat of arms over the door. Now both castle and hotel are run generously, and singlehandedly, by charming young Laurent, who was born here, and his Romanian wife Orelia. Outside is one of the oldest dovecotes in France, a peaceful pool and a hot tub, a tiny sauna, table tennis and bikes; the grounds are open and safe, the meadows stretch to the horizon. Inside, a dignified room for candlelit feasts, a sitting room with billiards and a tapestry or two, a priest’s hole for hiding revolutionaries, should any lurk, and a massive stone stair. This sweeps you up to five characterful suites, historic, traditional, their long windows overlooking the park, their armoires polished to perfection, their chintz bright, their fireplaces lit (when required); the ‘Chambre à Baldequin’ has an exquisite four-poster and there’s fine new Italian-style shower in the largest room. Dinner is prepared, served and hosted by Laurent and Orelia; special wines can be ordered from the cellar. Beyond, the summer extravaganzas at Puy de Fou draw a million spectators a year.