French Golf holidays: golf par excellence
Golf holidays in France still represent the best value golfing breaks in Europe. No bad thing as France is such a delightful country for holidays with a gentle climate and marked regional variations. Wherever you holiday in this vast, fertile land you will find well-designed and beautifully maintained golf courses. Around the major cities there are charming traditional Golf Clubs, out in the French provinces stylish modern Clubhouses and golf courses abound. In France golf is still largely undiscovered, so Green-fees are great value and the golf courses are seldom busy. Quite the contrary in fact - particularly if you can play mid-week.
As everybody knows, apart from the golf courses, France has some spectacular scenery, wide-open acres of countryside, long sandy beaches and historic towns. With a population density roughly a third of the UK, there is also plenty of time and space to relax and take it all in.
When it comes to cuisine, every region of France has its own specialities, so there are always new delicacies to discover. Need we add that there are some rather fine wines on offer too?
During our trips around France, we make a point of finding out where is good and who is up and coming on the local culinary scene. These recommendations we send to you along with your tickets. Let us know what you think of them and please pass on news of any good restaurants that you find yourselves!
So why not give a French golf holiday a try this year? We know every part of France and all the French golf courses intimately and we will be delighted to recommend the right golf courses and hotels for you, make all the travel arrangements for your golf holiday, plus provide you with all the local information that you might need.
The North of France is very accessible via the tunnel and ferry ports along the South coast of England. Travelling over with your golf clubs in your car is very easy, allows you to take as much as you want with you - and to bring back even more!
Hardelot and Le Touquet are two of the most popular spots due to their location just an hour from Calais and have built up a very regular British golfing clientele over the years.
There are some very good (and often overlooked) French golf destinations inland too: Arras and Lille have some great private golf clubs to play. Although with plenty of members some courses can be tricky to access at weekends. The trick is to come over in July and August when all the golf club members are away at the coast...
Coming from the UK, Belgium or the Netherlands, Normandy is one of the easiest parts of France to reach. And one of the most attractive too with its lush countryside, rolling hills and miles of sandy beaches. The landscape is either forest, dairy farms or apple orchards, studded with the characteristic Normandy architecture of cream coloured houses with their exposed chocolate-coloured wooden framework.
There are two main areas for golf holidays in Normandy: Deauville and the coastline along to Honfleur with its array of good golf courses and busy seaside resorts; inland south of Rouen there is another cluster of very good Normandy golf courses, spread across a much quieter, bucolic landscape.
Brittany has a long seafaring tradition and very strong links with the Celtic nations and culture. You just have to hear a local band strike up and echoes of Ireland and Scotland will be ringing in your ears. The cottages along the rocky northern coastlines are a trademark of Brittany: low white buildings with grey slate roofs. Inland the soil is rich and fertile, a bright green under the blue sky. The Bretons themselves aren't overly enthusiastic golfers, preferring the sea to the land, so the Brittany golf courses are mainly holiday golf courses rather than private members Golf Clubs. This is in no way a bad thing however, as there are some great places to play that are open to touring golfers all week long.
There is plenty of golf to be played along the coast and amidst the green fields of North Brittany. Dinard Golf Club (the second oldest in France) is an intricate trip around a series of rocky coves to the tune of yacht stays clinking in the breeze and sunlight dancing on the water. A little further west, Pléneuf-val-André is one of the finest golf courses you could wish to play: the holes perched on the cliff top are stunning - we know af quite a few addicts to this course! Inland Chateau des Ormes offers classic rural golf around an ancient chateau, nearby, St. Malo provides a stern modern test with a small hotel on-site for lovers of countryside quiet. In between these highlights there are plenty more to choose from too.
On the south side of the Brittany peninsula, sheltered by the central ridge of hilss the weather is a degree or two warmer than the northern coast, which makes this part of Brittany a long-loved holiday spot for families in the Summer with its famous sandy beaches. There are golf courses too, strung all the way along from Benodet on the western tip of Brittany, through Lorient and the Gulf of Morbihan down to Carnac Plage. Around Auray and Vannes there are four excellent courses: St. Laurent has hosted the French Open in years gone, Baden has a superb variety of parkland holes, Ploemeur-Océan has a links nine that will test anybody's golfing mettle and Val Queven is just rural peace and quiet.
In between rounds, don't for get to try some of the local Breton specialities such as the delicious sweet Crepes and savoury Galettes - just the thing for a light snack with a bowl of the local cider.
La Baule is, without any question, the premier golf resort in South Brittany, lying on the Atlantic coast of France, just west of Nantes.
The old Peter Alliss course has been split into two with nine new holes added to each loop creating two outstanding 18-hole layouts: plus another full-length, and rather testing, 9-hole course.
Château de La Bretesche, just down the road, is without doubt the most quintessentially French of golf courses with its serene Château perched on the lakeshore surrounded by dense, silent forest.
In addition to the three-and-a-half courses between La Baule and La Bretesche Golf Clubs; you can also play at: Pornic or Savenay under an hour's distance. A little further afield there is the tough semi-links test at St. Jean de Monts or the twisting old woodland course at Nantes-Vigneux.
Chantilly has one of the finest selection of private Golf Clubs to be found anywhere in France. If you like to mix some traditional golf courses with modern clubs then Chantilly is the spot for your French golf holiday.
The old courses at Golf de Chantilly and Club du Lys are parkland gems and the modern Paris International golf course, designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus, is an absolute beauty (although very difficult to access these days sadly).
In between there is a host of others golf courses to enjoy around Chantilly such as: the John Jacobs designed course at Apremont Golf Club, the modern Mont Griffon, classically old forest golf course at the fine Château de Raray, Domont-Montmorency Golf Club tucked away in the forest, Bellefontaine, the list of Chantilly golf courses goes on and on...
Bordeaux is world renowned for wine and practically every square inch of land is used for growing grapes. However, there are a few areas where grapes clearly wouldn't grow, which has allowed a little room for golf courses.
West of Bordeaux is the best area for golf holidays, the Médoc Golf Club with its two courses is the most developed resort and surrounded by quality vineyards.
Heading further west out to the coast, the landscape of the Landes region of France is all sand and pine trees with an exceptional golf course at Lacanau that few golfers are aware of (complete with basic hotel on site), another oustanding course at Gujan-Mestras, plus a pretty and amusing little course at the large seaside resort of Arcachon and a strong, tree-lined test a little further south at Biscarosse.
East of Bordeaux, an exciting new area for French golf holidays is developing. The beautiful Chateau des Vigiers has been around for a while and is well loved by many British golfers holidaying amongst the bucolic beauty of the Dordogne landscapes.
Now, there are two more golf courses amongst the vineyards east of Bordeaux: an exceptional new design at Saint Emilion (fabled for its wines) and the undiscovered Cameyrac, which has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. All adding up to a very interesting area for wine and golf holidays...
The Southwest of France, from south of Bordeaux down to Biarritz on the Spanish border is a unique area of France with a character all of its own. Here beside the crashing Atlantic waves, France and Spain blend together over the Pyrenées to form the Basque region. The food, the accent, the ambience all have a very Spanish feel and the people are relaxed and friendly. They are also sport mad, having 43 versions (at the last count) of their own ball-game 'pelota' or 'cesta punta' - a must see spectacle while you are in the area.
Fortunately they also have golf courses - and quite a lot of them too! Around Biarritz there are a dozen wonderful golf courses ranging from the classic old courses at Biarritz Le Phare, Hossegor and Chantaco to modern layouts such as Makila and Arcangues, there is even a touch of links golf at Chiberta. The sternest test of golf in the region though is undoubtedly Seignosse. A course woven into the sandy, pine-clad hills north of Biarritz a beautiful and dangerous test of anybody's golfing ability: once played, never forgotten.
The South of France and Provence are both legendary holiday destinations. From Monte Carlo in the East along through St. Tropez, Marseille, across the Camargue to Montpellier and the eastern end of the Pyrenees the scenery and climate is superb.
Interspersed in all this natural beauty are some fine golf courses too. In general they are a little spread across the Cote d'Azur countryside so a golf holiday here is more akin to a golf tour; but if you are happy to spend an hour or two on a scenic drive then you will reap the golfing rewards to be found at courses such as Château de Taulane, St. Endréol, Barbaroux, Seve's golf course at Pont Royal near Avignon, the delightful parkland course at Nimes Campagne and the US style golf resort at Montpellier Massane.
If you would rather to stay in one place during your golf holiday, the best base for a trip is Cannes, with the highest concentration of Riviera golf courses and plenty of nightlife to boot! However as you might imagine, it does become rather busy in the Summer months.
Another wonderful region of France with so much to see, do and taste (Lyon in fact holds itself out to be the gourmet capital of France), but strangely an area that is more often than not overlooked when planning a golf holiday in France.
In truth, there is a bit of a golf vacuum between Reims and Beaune (apart form the lovely Château de Chailly in Chablis country). The golf starts again in earnest around Macon with courses along the Rhône valley through Beaujolais country and down to the impressive city of Lyon at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.
The best concentration of golf courses in this part of France is around the North and East of Lyon: Le Gouverneur with its 36 holes is a good base and they also have another course La Bresse just along the road. Lyon Golf Club is a private club and its tough Sangliers course has hosted the French Open in recent years. Heading for the hills, there are some Alpine golf courses around Geneva such as Bresson and the wonderful little course tucked away up at Corrençon (change in the ski-lift!).
Alsace-Lorraine are two inseparable regions of France that have spent most of their existences under German ownership (only returned to France after the Great War). Consequently, it has a markedly different appearance and ambience: pretty little 'Hansel & Gretel' villages dot the forested hills and vineyards: it's like being in Bavaria but with French cuisine!
Around the 'Hansel & Gretel' city of Strasbourg you will find some superb golf courses: Strasbourg, Soufflenheim, Wantzenau are all highly rated, plus there is the luxury golf resort of Le Kempferhof if you prefer to tuck yourself away in the tranquillity of the verdant countryside.
Getting to France
Getting to France could not be easier these days with a huge variety of routes to the Continent form the UK. On the south coast, Eurotunnel services are quick and easy from Folkestone, if you prefer to break your journey then the Dover-Calais ferries are a good choice, giving you a chance to dine on board and stretch your legs.
On the western Channel there are overnight crossings to France with Brittany Ferries and also fastcraft that zip back and forth during the day. Channel Islands residents can take advantage of the Condor Ferries' services that run in and out of St. Malo.
Flying to your golf holiday in France could be the sensible option if you live further north in the British Isles or are heading for a golf holiday in the South of France. There are plenty of lo-cost flights and scheduled carriers too. If you don't want to pay for golf club carriage then we can always arrange for hire clubs for your holiday.
We keep tracks of the best flight schedules to France and can advise you on the best flights for your holiday. As we hold an ATOL licence we can book these for you, or you can book these yourself if you prefer?