Montmirail has an absorbing history – originally a simple medieval fort on a hilltop, it has seen meetings of kings and was transformed into an elegant château by the Princess of Conti, daughter of Louis XIV. Once through the imposing iron gates visitors on guided tours pass through the exquisite reception rooms with painted panelling; lucky B&B guests go behind the scenes and climb the stairs to bedrooms with original features intact but charmingly restored with soft modern lighting, sumptuous beds and sparkling new bathrooms. One has original rich flowery wallpaper, another a velvet headboard, all have views. Breakfast, a feast of organic eggs, ham. locally-made bread, cheese and pastries, is taken in the medieval dining room around one large table – or outside on the view-filled terrace. The owners are on hand at weekends; at other times charming Angelique looks after guests. Discover the drawing room with Louis XV chairs, relax in a (lower key) sitting room on a comfortable sofa surrounded by good artwork, wander at will on the smooth lawn, head further afield for heaps of pretty villages.