A very long drive, anticipation, then the house, the river, the cool forest. These lovely, civilised people, a former teacher of English and an architect, have treated their old house with delicacy and taste. Standing so Italianately red-ochre in its superb parc of great old trees and stream, it could have stepped out of a 19th-century novel. The interior speaks for your hosts’ caring, imaginative approach (polished cement floors, rustic Salernes tiles). Bedrooms are full of personality, elegant and colourful; the living room is exquisite with vintage Italian hanging lamps and Le Corbusier chairs.