Room Service: Hotel de la Pelissaria, France

The romantic and intimate Hotel de la Pelissaria is an idyllic hideaway clinging to a steep hulk of rock at the foot of the medieval village of Saint Cirq Lapopie in south-west France. Reached by passing under a crumbling stone arch (the original gate into the village), the 16th-century building sits on a cobbled lane beneath the red-tiled roofs, carved overhangs and blossoming gardens higher up the hill.

The romantic and intimate Hotel de la Pelissaria is an idyllic hideaway clinging to a steep hulk of rock at the foot of the medieval village of Saint Cirq Lapopie in south-west France. Reached by passing under a crumbling stone arch (the original gate into the village), the 16th-century building sits on a cobbled lane beneath the red-tiled roofs, carved overhangs and blossoming gardens higher up the hill.

Bowing your head to go through its studded wooden door, you find yourself in the cosy, bay-windowed reception area. Straight ahead is the hotel's elegant breakfast room, with vast gilt mirrors, expensive white china and bunches of dried lavender. (There's no restaurant in the hotel, but you'll find several good ones within five minutes' walk.) At the bottom of the garden, with a fantastic view of the Lot valley, is a compact swimming pool.

Location, location, location

The Hotel de la Pelissaria is in Saint Cirq Lapopie, 46330 France (00 33 565 312 514) and is open from April to November.

Transport: you only really need your feet in Saint Cirq Lapopie but, if you fancy exploring further afield, the most pleasant option is to hire a canoe from Camping La Plage by the river (from £4 per hour).

Time to international airport: Toulouse airport is an hour and a half's drive away and car hire costs around £30 per day (Europcar, 0845 722 2525). If you're not in a hurry, take a bus from the airport to Toulouse station, catch a train to Cahors and get a bus to Saint Cirq Lapopie (a total of £15 and just over two hours).

Are you lying comfortably?

To get to the bedrooms you are led outside and down the steep garden path. The 10 rooms, decorated in French country style, trail off a series of tumbling terraces, each with table and chairs outside. Enjoy breakfast, watching the sun burn the early morning mist off the village. The bathrooms are functional rather than luxurious, but if you're au courant with peasant chic this summer, you'll love its authentic wood and plain white tiling.

Staying in touch: phones and TVs only

The bottom line

Rooms cost from €61–€106 (£37– £65). Breakfast is an extra £5. The hotel also hosts musical evenings every Saturday from July to the end of September for £7 per person.

I'm not paying that: the nearby Hotel Les Gabarres (00 33 565 302 457) costs from around £28 per double, but sadly has all the romance of a packed commuter train.

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