In the middle of a pretty, fashionable and traditional spa town whose waters rise at 24° and whose original boating lake, casino and spa remain intact, Bois Joli was a pension built in the mid-1800s for those taking the waters. It sits at the edge of the Andaine forest in a neat, railinged acre of lawn, shrubs and sequoias. Décor is traditional classic French, understated and elegant. In the salon are good chairs, books, newspapers, flowers in pewter and a piano you may play; in the dining room, fine rush-seated chairs and white napery. The food is good-looking and delicious: fresh bread and squeezed orange for breakfast; oysters, pigeon breast and apricot tart for dinner. Slip off your shoes in a carpeted bedroom, immaculate with matching toile de Jouy or pale spriggy wallpaper and fabrics, perhaps an old country wardrobe to add character. That lovely lake is a minute away and the hotel arranges mushroom-picking weekends in the woods. Owners and staff are friendly, discreet and helpful, and you are surrounded by all the benefits of civilisation – golf, swimming, tennis and restaurants aplenty.