Plenty to do in the landscaped grounds of the Château de Memanat – solid swings and climbing frames in the garden, a swimming pool, a grotto hidden in the roots of a giant sequoia. The main building is homely with pretty blue shutters – apartment guests climb two flights up a handsome staircase to the top floor, and can also use a private terrace for outdoor dining beneath the wisteria. The apartment has large living spaces, two new shower rooms and four bedrooms, all white but with cheerful splashes of colour in rugs and bedding. Young owners Andrew and Natalie are energetic and happy to help, from doing a shop before you arrive to babysitting – they live here with their children, horses, donkey, chickens and a labrador but peace is still plentiful! Listen to birdsong, and tread in famous footsteps – pioneering scientist Marie Curie was a frequent guest of the Parisian doctor who rebuilt the château.