Down the tree-lined drive is a 16th-century marvel – an immaculate Renaissance château in sixty private acres. Expect a warm welcome from three friendly dogs and your hosts: she gentle and artistic, he ruler of the roost.
Wake to painted 17th-century ceilings in perfect condition, relax in boudoir armchairs, soak in deep baths. Downstairs, your host’s hunting passion is unmissable: heads of oryx jump out of walls; a sleek leopard from high surveys the panelled library. Breakfast of fresh pastries, home-made jams and local apple juice is bountiful and refined, served on porcelain at the big table.
Set off for the Landing Beaches (Juno Plage is 40km) and the quirky Musée des Beaux Arts in Caen (17km). Kite-surf in Merville-Franceville (5km) then come home to a lap in the pool and a wander down to the river, admiring the topiary as you go.