You’ll feel able to spread out here in the lush Normandy countryside with six acres of oak-filled parkland to yourselves. It’s a tempting place for celebrations and big gatherings but would also work as a retreat for readers, writers, photographers and painters.Play games or billiards, watch films, bounce on an outdoor trampoline, float in a ten-metre pool and bubble in the Jacuzzi. Quiet can be sought in the old greenhouse, shaded by grape vines, or in the well-stocked library. The kitchen is immense and has Aga and Rayburn so cooking for crowds is easy.Borrow the family dogs for long, country yomps; nip to Paris for a day; find inspiration in Monet’s garden at Giverny. 40 minutes in the car will take you to Versailles and Rouen.