High walls and an unassuming front door off a quiet village lane keep this wonderfully private maison from view. Inside, the most sympathetic of renovations has preserved Miradoux House’s original mouldings, fireplaces and uneven terracotta floors, breathing life into eight large bedrooms with art and antiques collected by globe-trotting owners. Groups of families and friends can spread out with ease in the garden and splash about in the (gated) pool.Cook in the charming kitchen and imagine great dinners prepared for the first owner – a Toulousian nobleman who demanded a winter retreat. Exploratory trips through the rolling Armagnac region yield not only the domaines of the famous brandy but also some good restaurants. Eat handsomely on potager produce, sample wines from Gascony grapes – said to be the world’s healthiest – and peep at distant views of the Pyrenees.