Brave the swing over the lake or stroll the lawns and admire the herd: Roel and Mic are proud owners of 40 Belted Galloways. This 12th-century stronghold in old Poitou sits in 105 rolling hectares of woods and fields; that’s what you see when you open your shutters in the morning.
Medieval doors and carved archways remain but the feel is fairly minimalist. A vast awning over the courtyard extends outdoor eating hours, three separate sitting rooms mean you can spread out nicely and there’s a sunken (small) pool in the grounds for cooling off if you don’t fancy the lake.
Breakfast is a gourmet affair and includes ham, cheese, eggs, fruits and pastries. Dinner is a set menu, prepared and cooked by chef Joss using seasonal local ingredients plus veg from their patch and sometimes meat from their cattle. Explore the rolling countryside on vespas or bikes. Pop into Montmoreau St Cybard (8km) for its weekly market; sample Napoleon’s favourite cognac in Jarnac (40km).