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The Loire is France's longest river, 1006 kilometres – that's a lot of banks to build castles on… Well, of course you can't compare Bouthéon with Chambord or Chenonceau: smaller, further south, but also more unusual.

In this former medieval fortress, paintings that talk, looms that still weave and fish swimming in the basement. Outside (almost prehistoric) animals rub shoulders with the farm animals, there are organic vegetables growing for local schoolchildren and all the lakes in the grounds are eco-friendly. Not bad eh, life at the château?

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