Lost among the cool shadows of tall sunlit trees, beside the languid waters of the Canal du Midi, is a place of quiet elegance and refinement – and so much space. Sitting in 12 acres, the fine old building is more country house than château, though the vineyards have long gone and formal hedges, ornamental railings and impressive gates link house to grounds. Swiss Roland and Anas run the house, George looks after the gardens: generous, kind-hearted, discreetly attentive, they are wonderful hosts. Served on beautifully dressed tables in a light, airy room with a crystal chandelier, dinner is a mix of Swiss, French and Italian cuisine, and breakfast a delicious treat (croissants with George’s homemade preserves, exquisitely prepared fruit salads). Superb bedrooms have tall windows, polished floors and an uncluttered taste; be charmed by traditional armchairs and footstools, huge beds and fresh flowers, white bathrooms with towels to match. You are a half mile from the main road to Carcassonne and yet there’s a feeling of rare calm here.