Guests are full of praise for this elegant château, built in 1890 to host balls and grand soirées. In recent years it has been passionately, authentically, lavishly restored. The house stands in huge grounds – unusually so since it is right in the heart of old Saumur – and the charming new owners, Pascale et François, could not be more welcoming or more helpful. Bedrooms are lofty, lovely and filled with light. Every trace of modern updating – central heating, rewiring – has been artfully concealed, and generous curtains hang at huge windows overlooking the private park. Other rooms overlook the Academy of Cavalry, where aristocratic officers used to hone their equestrian skills. The décor is classic French at its finest, apart from the contemporary and zen-like top-floor suite. Bathrooms are as luxurious, each one unique. There’s a heated pool, and the garden is rather (wonderfully) wild – Pascale has plans to tame it; step into town – don’t miss the Saturday market! Breakfasts include pastries, omelettes, ham, delicious pain perdu; good restaurants are on the doorstep. Worth every penny.