Madame Proust welcomes new arrivals to the guest accommodation at Château de Vaugaudry. “The English like it here,” she tells me as we climb the stone steps leading to the cavernous hall of the building. It’s east to see why: a carved stone baronial fireplace forms the centrepiece to a huge room that must be fifteen feet high; a spiral staircase leads up to a fairytale gothic tower and bed chambers with vaulted ceilings and arched windows that look out onto the river Vienne. The 15th century buildings, part of the Vaugaudry estate, are set between nearly 100 hectares of forest and the left bank of the river. You can rent it as a gîte and pretend to be Lord and Lady of the manor for a week. The stable block too can be rented; this is a more modest property (by comparison) but it’s set in beautiful parkland and is right next-door to the winery.