You could almost imagine the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil plotting in the grand salon! A Renaissance gatehouse leads to a remarkable 16th-century brique de St Jean façade as you enter the grounds of this enticing ‘monument historique’. Alain and Sylvie, generous and charming, have restored two elegant ground-floor rooms in the north wing, and two with listed decoration on the first floor. Breathtaking ‘La Parade’ announces a velvet swagged four-poster in an ornate alcove, a monumental fireplace and a single-bedded nursery; ‘Louis XVI’, decorated in 1777, reveals a pure French classical elegance, its exquisitely furnished yellow salon adjoining a vast bedroom with chandeliers and intricate mouldings. Bathrooms are pleasingly lavish – and modern. Breakfast in the vaulted Great Kitchen, its vast fireplace replete with a turbine-driven spit designed by da Vinci, means embroidered napkins, fresh fruits and flowers, pâtisserie and homemade jams. The estate walls enclose a small kingdom: chapel, farm, cider press, bakery, barns and 44 acres of park and woodland. Amazing.