If we were to create the ideal French country escape, Hotel Diderot would be it. The origins of this beautiful manor date all the way back to the 1400s, with the highlight from that time being the fireplace in the breakfast room. As for the morning offerings served in said room, they present a delicious quandary: which of the 50-plus homemade jams and jellies should you choose? The property was given a serious upgrade (in the eighteenth century!), and the rooms reflect this era, with antiques, hardwood floors and exposed beams. Thankfully, there are some modern-day influences, such as private bathrooms. The rates here really are to die for. Such character-filled ambience usually comes at a much higher price. Just a five-minute walk from the hotel, the medieval town of Chinon boasts cafés brimming with terrific red wine menus and a castle with ties to Joan of Arc. All in all, this is the perfect base for exploring the Loire Valley.