A 15th-century, 100-carat jewel of a castle, once the favored retreat of kings François I and Henri IV, is today the luxurious country setting for the Prince de Broglie's hotel—a magnificent place that magically distills all the grace, warmth, and élan of la vie de châteaux as no other. Prince Louis-Albert is scion of one of France's top families (two prime ministers and one Nobel Prize winner, at last count) and one of Paris's most famed biodiversity preservationists,
who here cultivates 650 types of tomatoes in the château's potager (vegetable garden). It's not surprising, then, to find the three main public salons suavely done up in shades of tomato red, sumptuously offsetting such accents as an immense marble fireplace, majestic taxidermied animals, and curio cabinet objects collected by the prince. Inside the neo-Renaissance castle, guest rooms range from the grand—François-Premier is a timber-roof cottage blown up to ballroom dimensions—to more standard-issue, yet always stylish salons (garden-view rooms away from the gravel driveway are best). Cheaper rooms are found in the adjoining 17th-century "stables" fitted out with a gardening shop and a tiny eatery (lunch only, June–September). And don't overlook the enormous secluded pool—a gift from above during hot summer days.