Armand Poinsot's excellent cooking (traditional but light) is only one attraction of this captivating hotel whose position at a crossroads in the centre of Arnay makes it the town's most notable feature. The dark, dull corridors give no hint of the appeal of the bedrooms, which come as a delightful surprise: some are compact, others spacious; many are beamed and all are full of character: antiques, pretty floaty curtains, armchairs. Bathrooms are simple but perfectly done out. One family room has two bedrooms; another room in the roof is tiny but quaintly appealing. Cheaper rooms are available in the Claire de Lune annexe.

  Downstairs there is a large, comfortable lobby/sitting room, but the heart of the hotel is its dining room, fashioned, conservatory-style, from a covered courtyard, with a leafy tree in the middle. To one side is the kitchen, open to view, and, adjoining, the pâtisserie. 'It's interesting for the guests to see the kitchen staff at work', says M. Poinsot, 'and just as interesting for the staff to see the guests.' His team appears to be faultless: one feels he has perfected the art of running a traditional French restaurant. The waitresses wear long white aprons and floral skirts, the food is delicious, the service smooth. This is the France we love to find, full of old-fashioned charm.