Live like exiled royalty in the Don Carlos suite at the Hôtel de Panette

The best restaurants and hotels in the ancient province in central France, plus some hidden secrets only the locals know about

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HOTELS

Best Western Hôtel Angleterre Bourges

Only hotel in the heart of the medieval city, recently renovated and with a small secure garage on reservation. Four stars. Breakfast only. www.bestwestern-angleterre-bourges.com

La Villa C, Bourges

Four-star boutique hotel with 12 rooms, 2 mins from the station and 10 from the town centre. Contemporary décor in 19th-century property. Breakfast and snack room service. www.hotelvillac.com

Hôtel Le Clos Saint-Martin, Sancerre

Nineteenth-century Napoleonic-style hotel with contemporary interior courtyard beneath glass roof. Accredited ‘Vignobles & Découvertes’. Three stars. www.leclos-saintmartin.com

The Hôtel Angleterre is ideally located for discovering the riches of Bourges

Hôtel-Restaurant Le Noirlac, Saint-Amand-Montrond

Eye-catching avant-garde architecture, 43 sound-proofed rooms, outdoor pool, seasonal menus plus poolside meals in summer. Three stars. lenoirlac.fr

Hôtel Les Dryades, Pouligny-Notre-Dame

Four-star golf resort and spa with 80 rooms and 5 suites, 18-hole course, indoor and outdoor pools, spa and wellness centre. Local produce served in the Harmonie restaurant. www.les-dryades.fr

Hôtel du Lion d’Argent, La Châtre

Member of the Logis network, 34 rooms, and restaurant serving local dishes. Private parking. Room suitable for disabled guests. www.leliondargent.com

The Hôtel La Côte des Monts Damnés in Chavignol, a village famed for its cheese

Hôtel La Côte des Monts Damnés, Chavignol

Relaxing décor using quality fabrics in the historic village of Chavignol, home to AOP goat’s cheese, near Sancerre. Gastro restaurant (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and bistro. www.montsdamnes.com

Hôtel La Cognette, Issoudun

Member of the Châteaux & Hotels Collection, once frequented by Balzac. Acclaimed restaurant with two husbands in the kitchen and their wives front of house. www.la-cognette.com

Hôtel Les 3 Cépages, Reuilly

Berrichon fare with Japanese air by the Japanese owners of this three-star hôtel de charme. Six bedrooms, including two disabled-friendly rooms. www.les-3-cepages.com

The Auberge La Forge is frequented by tourists and locals alike

B&BS

L’Hôtel de Panette, Bourges

Period B&B rooms, plus apartments, close to the cathedral. The Don Carlos suite is where Don Carlos of Bourbon lived during his exile from Spain in 1839-45. Period luxury. www.panette.fr

Villa Stuart, Aubigny-sur-Nère

Five en-suite rooms with family house atmosphere in 1930s property with outdoor pool. Dinner on reservation; cookery classes and gourmet weekends also available. www.villastuart.com

Oustal en Berry, Bourges

Four tastefully decorated bedrooms in a 19th-century merchant’s house; use of lounge with open fire. Terrace for al fresco breakfasts, walled garden, private parking. www.oustalenberry.fr

Le Clos des Aubrys, Saint-Maur

Close to Châteauroux, Valençay, and the A20, three rooms in a cosy longhouse with contemporary décor, garden and heated outdoor pool. www.leclosdesaubrys.com

Le Clos des Aubrys at Saint-Maur, a boutique B&B in the heart of the Berry

RESTAURANTS

For refined cuisine based on local products, check out the 18 members of Les Tables Gourmandes du Berry. www.tablesgourmandesduberry.com

Le Cercle, Bourges

Michelin-starred fare in an 1844 townhouse in the 19th-century military district, surrounded by gardens and near the cathedral. Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner. www.restaurant-lecercle.fr

Les Saisons Gourmandes, Saint-Pierre-de-Jards

Family-run restaurant with beamed interior and open fire, plus summer terrace, in a former village shop and bar. Local produce with Mediterranean touches. www.lessaisonsgourmandes.fr

Auberge La Forge, Lys-Saint-Georges

Close to Nohant in Lower Berry, country inn in traditional longhouse with reputation for its gastronomy. Open fire in winter; summer terrace. www.restaurantlaforge.com

From France Today magazine

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