Paris is 20 minutes by train, Versailles 15 by motorway. Here, behind wrought-iron gates in an elegant suburb, the French mansion sits in an exuberant town garden of pergolas, box bushes and mature trees. Your kind, attentive hosts – she an ex-English teacher, he with a passion for Sully-Prudhomme – may give you the poet/philosopher’s two-room first-floor suite; he lived here in 1902. Polished floorboards, pretty prints, choice antiques, decorative perfume bottles by a claw-footed tub, all dance to the 19th-century theme. Breakfast unveils gorgeous porcelain and delicious homemade muffins and jams. Outstanding.