In an historic town, be welcomed by a charming, cultured couple to a 400-year-old house of fascinating origins. Thrill to Marielle’s tales: her ancestors built and extended the house, their portraits hang in the panelled drawing room; find time for François’ knowledge of history, geography and the environment. Up the elegant spiral stairs, bedrooms are in proper but unpompous château style, big, soft and quiet. Breakfast is in the beamy 16th-century dining room, or by the kitchen fire, or in the terraced garden overlooking jumbled rooftops, or on the luminous veranda. Explore Treignac – you’re right next to the church and the town is filled with medieval and renaissance buildings. Hike or bike through beautiful parkland at the foot of the mountains. Foodies will flock to the local markets which pay homage to the farmers and growers of the area: wild mushrooms and chestnuts in autumn, Limousin beef, black pork, truffles and wine made with grapes rested on straw. There are lots of watery activities you can take part in too in the rivers, lakes and canyons; try canoeing, kayaking and sailing.