DOMAINE DES ETANGS
The immaculate 11th-century castle is set in 2,000 acres of pastures in a little-visited corner of the Charente between Limoges and Angoulême.
Behind the honey-hued stone walls of this turreted 11th-century château lies one of France’s loveliest and most lavish places to stay. Owner Garance Primat treats the space like a gallery for her own private art collection; works by Matisse and Picasso sit alongside Tintin prints, framed insects and midcentury-modern furniture.
There are 29 rooms: seven in the castle, the rest spread across six cottages and another building. The result is a triumph of good taste, eclecticism and whimsy. Works by Matisse and Picasso jostle alongside Tintin prints, and the library is stocked with comic books as well as coffee-table monographs.
Room names refer to the planets and constellations (nature’s greatest wonders) and the Domaine’s emblem is a dragonfly (one of nature’s smaller wonders but an important link between the realms of air and earth and water). The underlying idea is to get you looking upwards and outwards, and ideally to get you up and outside for hiking and boating – there’s wildlife to be spotted, and a splendid kitchen garden.
There’s a Michelin-starred restaurant and state-of-the-art spa, and the grounds are a delight to explore, filled with lakes, farmyards, zip-wires and meadows of friendly Limousin cows. The handful of rooms in the main house display a triumph of good taste, while small clusters of farmhouses available to rent have a more rustic elegance.
Indulge in the soothing treatments provided by Le Moulin des Etangs
Dyades, the Michelin-star restaurant of the Domaine
Over 2,500 acres of protected Nature, spread across forests, grassland and ponds.