Deep in the Loire valley countryside, this 18th-century château, in the family for six generations, is an experience of opulence and splendour. It is now occupied by your host, the relaxed and endearing Monsieur de Valbray, his wife and children (most of them grown and flown), rightfully proud of their extraordinary home. A charming and laid-back place to stay, in spite of the grandiose surroundings, it has handsome interiors decorated in fine traditional French style. The grand drawing room is a symphony of rich red velvet with swathes of fine silk floating elegantly to the ground; sweep up the marble staircase to bedrooms beautifully adorned; many beds are canopied. many windows have sweeping estate views; there are candles everywhere. A local Crémant de Loire, served by Monsieur, is the perfect apéritif before a three-course meal, prepared by Madame (an exquisite cook) and served in the dining room by candlelight. A digestif can, on cool nights, be sipped in the drawing room where the log fire roars delightfully. In the grounds is a country-style Orangery with extra rooms in a more rustic style.