By the church, in a tiny and beautiful hamlet, is a huge 12th-century watchtower with sensational views. A charming walled garden surrounds it – a riot of colour in summer – with a barbecue terrace, a discreetly placed pool and a separate cottage with two handy extra rooms. Fill the place with family and friends: the interiors may be magnificent and the style ‘chateau’ yet the décor feels homely not daunting. Walls are honey coloured limestone, big rugs top parquet floors and the sitting room is cavernous: huge comfy cream sofas around the wood-burner at one end, high-back dining chairs and pewter candlesticks at the other, and generous William Morris curtains in between. You get a small but perfect first-floor kitchen opening to a terrace with blissful views, four storeys of bedrooms linked by gleaming wooden stairs, modern bathrooms with fluffy towels, and carved four-posters from the set of The Tudors! Canoe on the Lot, see the cave paintings of Peche Merle, stock up on a Wednesday or a Saturday at the market at Cahors, and visit the exquisite village of St Cirq Lapopie once the tourists have gone home.