The Younan family bought this impressive 17th-century chateau in 2016 – their third in and around the Loire valley – and have spent every moment since gently updating it. Now all the large bedrooms are deliciously comfortable with reproduction antique furniture, pretty printed wall fabrics, charming nooks and crannies and long views of the grounds. One room is in the original mediaeval tower. Breakfast is a hot and cold buffet affair served in the elegant dining room (which doubles as a ballroom) or out on the terrace if the weather is fine. It’s worth booking dinner too; the chef has been here for 20 years and turns out beautifully presented traditional French fare. And there’s a glorious beamed and chandeliered sitting room for apéritifs or post supper brandies. The approach is gorgeous: from the picturesque town of St Etienne you drive through a woodland valley to arrive at this stately chateau ringed by verdant countryside with a formal knot garden and fountains. A friendly, laid back feel pervades and the best of the Loire is on your doorstep.