The Domaine de l'Etape is at the end of a road deep enough in the countryside to satisfy the most desperate need to escape the city. A 19thC mansion in 250 hectares of woods and fields, it also has a large lake, which you're welcome to fish, and working farm with horses and chickens.
  All this is presided over by Mme Seiller with the kind of genial tranquility that comes of years of practice (30 in her case). The house has been in her family for 125 years, and when she started the hotel she had just seven bedrooms. There are now 35 but within that total there are three distinct types. Those in the hotel itself are undoubtedly the best on offer, comfortably and informally decorated. Then there is a pleasant two-storeyed modern building, with rooms on the ground floor that open directly to the garden. Lastly, there are some very rustic rooms down on the farm, which are long on character but short on comfort. Hard-wearing and cheap, they tend to be popular with families. Back in the main building there is a panelled dining room that opens out to the terrace and a handsome Louis Phillipe salon. Family friendly.