We are full of admiration for Eric and Anne-Marie, who keep this proud old place and its vineyards afloat. They are the loveliest hosts, serving big bountiful breakfasts and welcoming guests as friends. As for the château, built in 1645 and ‘modernised’ after the Revolution, its charm is undeniable, its paintwork clean and relatively new. Beautiful wooden floors, pale panelled walls, crystal chandeliers and family furniture create a lived-in feel, and the very private family suites (furnished with mirrors and portraits Anne-Marie is still unearthing from the attic) are capacious. One faces a sweet, formal French garden, the other fills with morning sunshine and overlooks the vines. Or stay in the treehouse and hear owls at dusk. Elegant rugs top wooden floors, pretty curtains hang at tall windows, bathrooms are incongruously modern and antiques shine. Wake to breakfast in a vast room before a gilded mirror, then head for Arcachon for boat trips and oysters. Or splendid old Bordeaux, a 15-minute drive – you can see the city skyline from the tranquillity of the château grounds.