Down the plane-flanked drive to an immaculate Renaissance château in 50 acres of harmonious grounds. Find painted 17th-century beams in perfect condition, a panelled library, a powder-blue dining room, and fireplaces imposing and theatrical – panache, elegance and a huge amount of fine château character. There’s more: heads of antelope and oryx jumping out of the walls, a curled up fox on a sitting room sofa, a cheetah on a branch hitched up high on the library wall: the unmissable presence of the hunter’s passion. Here live the Augais family (she gentle and artistic, he ruler of the roost, both great travellers) with horse, hens and handsome gundogs. In big peaceful bedrooms with tall windows are chestnut floors and grey-washed beams, oriental carpets, quilted bedspreads, boudoir armchairs, deep baths (with shower attachments) and exquisite curtain tassels. Take a dip in the discreet pool; set off for culture in Caen. Super breakfasts come with homemade jams; there’s no table d’hôtes but restaurants all around. Marvellous.