Ten Top French Retreats

1. Pyrennees

Set on the dramatic Atlantic coast, boutique B&B Arguibel is traditional timber on the outside, flamboyant and colour-drenched on the inside: lime and turquoise walls, disco-shiny mosaic tiles (from €160).

2. Burgundy

Moulin Renaudiots is a vine-clad 17th-century water mill with Danish-Dutch design and modern-classic furniture (from €115, with breakfast).

3. Cognac

Foodies adore Le Logis de Puygâty, a 15th-century fortified manor serving refined country cooking, about 20km from Angoulême (from €135).

4. Provence

La Maison sur la Sorgue, in one of southern France's prettiest market towns, is decorated with artefacts collected by its well-travelled owners (from €240, with breakfast). Contact: modernhotels.com.

5. Languedoc-Roussillon

Stylishly renovated 17th-century convent Le Couvent d'Hérépian has stone floors, lime-washed furniture, underground spa and rooms with terraces (from €125).

6. Normandy

Château de Saint-Paterne is a luxe family castle with romantic rooms, tennis courts, a heated pool and chef (from €135).

7. Provence

Le Mas de la Rose, a beamed farmhouse in a sprawling estate near St-Rémy-de-Provence, has a golf range, tennis court, and outdoor pool (from €190).

8. Paris

Hotel Keppler, just off the Champs Elysées, has rooms designed by interiors guru Pierre-Yves Rochon (from €269).

9. Brittany

For a family-friendly seaside stay: Le Lodge Kerisper in La Trinité-sur-Mer has "help-yourself" jars of sweets and bikes to borrow (from €90).

10. Champagne-Ardennes

A nine-room, boutique bed-and-bistro set in two restored farmhouses at Chez Odette, with exposed beams and modern design (from €175).

All rates are per room, per night including tax (to book go to mrandmrssmith.com). See also Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France (Spy Publishing, £19.95).

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