Six of the Best Hotels in Rural France

There's nothing like a balmy afternoon spent by the pool, rosé in hand, lavender perfuming the air. Pair that with leisurely bike rides and copious brie and you've got an idyllic holiday à la française. With luxurious stays fit for Marie Antoinette and rustic farm-to-table experiences, our lowdown on France's best countryside hotels has something to satisfy every summer craving.

D’Une Île


D'Une Île transports guests into a Charles Perrault fairy tale. Inside, exposed wooden beams and copper Tom Dixon wash basins make unexpected but charming design partners, along with cartoonish cushions and beds built into the floor. Tree branches serve as clothing racks, adding a touch of whimsy to each room. Nestled in Basse-Normandie's Le Perche Regional Nature Park, D'Une Île also takes advantage of its locale by serving produce from its garden or nearby markets. Days start off with yoghurt served with fresh honeycomb; lunch and dinner revolve around just-picked Swiss chard and multi-hued carrots, as well as the catch of the day from the Chausey islands. Complete the experience with the hotel's selection of natural and biodynamic wines.

La Bastide de Gordes


This hotel climbs the hill in Gordes, offering a sweeping vista across green valleys and villages perched atop surrounding bluffs. A Provençal dream, La Bastide de Gordes feels like a castle tucked away from the rest of the world. Take in the view from your clawfoot bathtub, from the chaise lounge on your private terrace or - our favourite option - while clinking Aperol spritzes on the multi-level patio by the swimming pool. When not sharing moules à la Provençale at L'Orangerie restaurant or having your umpteenth ratatouille at golden hour, book into the hotel's Sisley Spa for an outdoor massage in a leafy setting.

Le Barn


An hour away from Paris in the Rambouillet forest, this Yvelines hotel offers a rural escape during a city-based holiday. The converted barn has 71 rooms and trades in views over bustling Parisian streets for those over a serene lake. The decor is rustic and laidback while maintaining an obvious sense of French design know-how, and each space has been carefully repurposed: the former mill, for instance, has been refashioned as a spa, complete with wooden hot tubs. Breakfast is taken at a countertop, as if you're at a friend's country home, while other meals are often served family-style at a long table under the trees.

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Château les Merles


A classic Bergerac château with an elegant stone swimming pool, Château les Merles is one of those stays where you'll really have to force yourself to leave the property for a wine tasting tour or kayaking down the Dordogne river. The hotel's grounds have a tennis court and golf course, making it ideal for an athletic getaway en famille during which your main daily activities rotate between bountiful meals and beating your siblings at rummy. Book a few of the hotel's sleek rooms, which are kitted out with gilded mirrors and enormous armoires, or opt for one of the villas with a private pool for a larger group affair.

Domaine des Etangs


With a name that literally translates as "Domaine of Ponds", this hotel, comprised of an 11th-century château and farmhouse cottages, is unsurprisingly surrounded by small bodies of water. Whether you're looking to sample cognac on a sheltered dock or take out a rowing boat for a Notebook-style paddle, misty mornings and sun-dappled afternoons are best spent on the waterfront here. The rooms are equally magical, with modish bathtubs, cosy libraries and fireplaces built into stone walls, artfully mixing antique pieces with sleek lines. For those with a penchant for eye candy, the Domaine also has art exhibitions on rotation, showcasing contemporary pieces by international artists.

Domaine de Fontenille


Shaded by leafy cedars, Domaine de Fontenille is a natural playground, with its own vineyards, bunches of lavender and elegant cypress trees. The rooms are done up in earthy tones for maximum relaxation, while blue-shuttered windows open out onto the lush property. As with many of our favourite hotels, food is a primary focus here. Chef Jérôme Faure certainly doesn't disappoint, serving flaky croissants and homemade jams for breakfast, and blue lobster in the Michelin-starred Le Champ de Lunes come dinnertime. A 25-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence, this hotel has got everything you could want from the countryside, with an easy city-fix (or even just a trip to the market) on hand.