Château La Thuilière hotel blends French grandeur with modern Spanish design savvy: an artful medley of stained glass, original tapis, bold hues and furniture by Philippe Starck and Mies Van der Rohe.Ask in advance and the owners will organise cookery classes, tours of nearby vineyards, bike rides and other local pursuits.
Go rambling in the hotel’s private park (Jordi can organise bikes or a walking tour). The château is in the heart of French wine country: Saint Emilion and Sauternes are worth exploring for their vineyards and historic châteaux. Thrillseekers can arrange canoe trips on the Dordogne (ask the hotel). Stop for lunch in Brantôme, and admire the town’s Gothic architecture and riverside cafes. Périgueux has plenty of historic charm, notably the Saint Front Cathedral, the Romanesque church of Saint Etienne de la Cité, the Mataguerre Tower and the half-timbered houses on Rue Limogeanne. Nose around the Maison Estignard, one of the best-preserved mediaeval merchant’s houses.