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Extraordinary Places to Stay: palaces you don’t have to be royal to sleep in

Palace hotels

CHÂTEAU DE BOURRON: FONTAINEBLEAU, FRANCE

WHAT’S ITS CROWNING GLORY? Nothing says ‘proper palace’ more than a moat, and being surrounded by water adds to the sense that you’re taking a short break in the 17th century. The illusion is maintained with an authentically period look inside, from the wood-panelled library, replete with antique volumes, to rooms with richly patterned wallpapers, voluminous drapes and marbled double sinks in the en suites.

DOES THE FAIRYTALE EXTEND BEYOND THE PALACE GATES? With an abundance of topiary, tennis courts and 40 partly-forested hectares to explore within the property’s walls, you might not make it that far. But there’s an even more bombastic château in the town of Fontainebleau, and multiple pretty villages nearby that have long been a lure for Parisian artists.

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