Sponsored post written by James Kazinski
Over the past few years French golf holidays have increased in popularity, particularly among British travellers. This is unsurprising given the large number of pristine golf courses littered throughout the country, the favourable French climate, the great food and wine and the numerous other cultural attractions that France has to offer.
France has almost 600 golf courses, more than all other countries on continental Europe combined. Something I wasn’t aware of until I dug a little deeper and with a low course to player ratio, most courses are underused. This means tee-times are spread well apart giving plenty of time and space. What’s more, as I found, golf in France is not just about quantity of courses. The country boasts 25 of the top 100 European courses and according to the Golf Magazine’s 2000 Best Golf Courses Rankings, four French courses are among Continental Europe’s top ten. It is then unsurprising that French golf holidays are increasingly popular.
The Eurotunnel makes the amazing golf courses, as with all attractions in Le France like the resort towns of Le Torquet and Hardelot accessible to British and Irish tourists. Several other phenomenal courses are located just a short drive inland. St Omer, has an excellent hotel, a wonderful 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole area for the less serious holiday golfer.
Paris and its surroundings are home to excellent resorts – that’s no secret I suppose. Dolce Chantille resort, the demanding links Golf National at Albatross and the woodland course of Fontainebleau are among France’s most famous tracks. If you wish to combine a beach holiday with a spot of golf in France, La Baule, Deauville and Trouville are perfect destinations and each is filled with bars, restaurants and casinos. The majestic architecture of the French capital makes it appealing to those who wish to taste all that France has to offer, you can’t golf all day, especially not with the bars and casinos calling!
There are many charming holiday towns along the coastline through Normandy, Western Loire and Brittany, and these make for some of the more picturesque courses to play. The cities of Bordeaux and Biarritz are also surrounded by courses and the almost guaranteed sunshine of Cote d’Azur and Provence make them ideal of golfing holidays. Dolce Fregate offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and Sainte Baume golf course is a popular choice. The Alps are an emerging destination for golf in France with the clean air and spectacular views making the courses there increasingly popular, this makes it a great place to go if you’re holidaying with friends who enjoy skiing.
The second ranked course in Europe, Les Bordes, is just two hour drive from Paris. This divine venue is located 30 kilometres southwest of Orleans in the Loire Valley. The wooded masterpiece was designed by Robert von Hagge and opened in 1986. The course is supremely challenging and the current course record is 71. At 7,062 yards, it isn’t just the golf that’s a challenge; simply getting around the course can take some time – cutting short my evening visit to the bars and casinos! The local lakes are ingeniously integrated into the course and water is utilised in 12 of the holes. Les Bordes is great for those looking for a challenge and the majestic beauty of the Loire Valley, make it a great destination for French golf holidays and is one I will certainly look to visit again.
Located 30 miles north of the capital, Golf de Chantilly is one of Europe’s most spectacular courses. Constructed in the forests of the Ile de France, the club has hosted countless French Opens. The main challenge of Chantilly comes in the form of its extreme bunkers designed by Tom Simpson. With 36 holes over its two courses, Chantilly is a beautiful and challenging venue although Les Bordes is still my clear favourite. Only around 598 more courses for me to play, maybe I should attempt more than two courses on my next golf holiday.