SOUTH­ERN FRANCE GUIDE

It will stage 2018’s big­gest event in golf – so there’s never been a bet­ter time to visit our neigh­bours.

Golf World (UK) - - GOLF WORLD -

The eyes of the golf world will be on France this au­tumn, when 24 of the lead­ing golfers in the world face each other in the Ry­der Cup at Le Golf Na­tional on the south-western out­skirts of Paris.

It will be only the sec­ond time a course out­side Britain or Amer­ica has hosted the Ry­der Cup, fol­low­ing Valder­rama in 1997.

Le Golf Na­tional is part of a wealth of op­tions around the cap­i­tal city, which also in­cor­po­rate clas­sics such as Chan­tilly and Fon­tainebleau.

In con­trast, 2018’s Ry­der Cup has only ex­isted for a cou­ple of decades. Built on farm­land as flat as a pan­cake, it was moulded and sculpted beau­ti­fully us­ing land­fill – rub­bish to you and I – to cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing Amer­i­can-style course dom­i­nated by nu­mer­ous wa­ter haz­ards.

There are as many as six Top 100 venues dot­ted around the cap­i­tal, which is where the coun­try’s cream lies. How­ever France has real depth, with tremen­dous of­fer­ings fur­ther north – and there­fore highly con­ve­nient for the Bri­tish golfer – in Nor­mandy (star­ring Etre­tat, Granville, St Julien and Vau­dreuil), Brit­tany (led by Pleneuf Val An­dre, Di­nard and St Malo) and es­pe­cially the Opal Coast (where Harde­lot and Le Tou­quet offer Top

100 class). France’s qual­ity stretches all the way from Calais to its south coast, though, and it is to the south we will fo­cus on in this spe­cial France sec­tion.

The South West

With five Top 100 cour­ses very close to each other and a fifth, Golf du Me­doc, a few miles up the coast on the out­skirts of Bordeaux, this is an ex­cep­tional golf re­gion. A sixth op­tion, Chateau des Vigiers, sits fur­ther in­land in vine­yard coun­try.

The quar­tet that are packed ex­cep­tion­ally close to each other are Seignosse, Chib­erta, Hossegor and Moli­ets.

Seignosse is a beau­ti­ful but tough Robert Von Hagge course among ma­ture trees and nat­u­ral wa­ter fea­tures while Chib­erta is part park­land, part sea­side.

Hossegor is routed among ma­ture trees while Moli­ets is a Trent Jones de­sign head­lined by a fab­u­lous four-hole stretch next to the ocean.

Golf du Me­doc has two fan­tas­tic cour­ses and a su­per four-star ho­tel. Le Chateaux was laid out by Bill Coore in 1989 and is a heath­land very much in the ilk of Wal­ton Heath. It is backed up by the equally at­trac­tive Vignes.

To the east is Chateau des Vigiers, an en­chant­ing 27-hole re­sort near Berg­erac with a 16th cen­tury chateau at its heart. It has made a wide range of im­prove­ments for the 2018 golf sea­son. Up­graded bunkers and buggy tracks, ren­o­vated bed­rooms and changing rooms, a sump­tu­ous new wine cel­lar in its Miche­lin-star restaurant and a new­lyren­o­vated Spa and hy­drother­apy pool are just some of the high­lights. It is ideal for a golf break in clas­sic French wine coun­try. A stay here has been en­hanced by the open­ing nearby of Saint Emil­lion­ais, Tom Doak’s first de­sign in main­land Europe.

The South East

This re­gion of France is home to the France’s premier re­sort, with a Euro­pean Top 100 course – one that is clos­ing in on the top 10 – as well as a sec­ond course that is a very, very solid com­ple­ment.

Le Chateau was de­signed by Dave Thomas and is im­mac­u­lately man­i­cured. It

winds across, up and down a clas­si­cal ‘gar­rigue’ (coun­try­side), with the sights and smells of the fa­mous ru­ral re­gion ac­com­pa­ny­ing one of the con­ti­nent’s great ex­pe­ri­ences. Equally as im­pres­sive is the at­tached ho­tel, which is not just one of the best golf ho­tels in France, it is one of the best ho­tels in France full stop. It boasts ev­ery amenity and lux­ury, and go here in Au­gust and it is clear to see why it is so pop­u­lar with Bri­tish fam­i­lies on holiday.

Other ex­cel­lent op­tions in the French Riviera in­clude St En­dreol, which boasts a fine golf course as well as spa and treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties, ten­nis courts, a jog­ging trail, restaurant, bar and café, as well as a healthy dash of Proven­cal art de vivre.

Pont Royal is an­other su­perb op­tion, the only Seve Balles­teros de­sign in France. It opened in 1992 and takes golfers through pine woods and typ­i­cal Proven­cal scenery. Many holes have a plateau set­ting, with views to the Luberon and Alpilles moun­tains.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion is of­fered in the four-star Moulin de Vernegues, part of the Châteaux & Hô­tels Col­lec­tion, or in apart­ments, vil­las and houses within the pedes­tri­anised Pierre & Va­cances vil­lage.

Founded a year af­ter Pont Royal, Royal Mou­g­ins Golf Re­sort is the French Riviera’s only golf re­sort. Voted ‘France’s Best Golf Ho­tel’ at the World Golf Awards in 2016 and 2017, the re­sort is sit­u­ated less than four miles from the cen­tre of the glamourous re­sort town of Cannes.

Laid out in a wooded vale and de­signed by Von Hagge, this re­worked 6,566-yard course winds around scenic wooded vales, rivers and lakes – sev­eral with pic­turesque wa­ter­falls.

The re­sort also fea­tures an ex­clu­sive fourstar ho­tel with suites, a restaurant and a huge spa and fit­ness cen­tre.

Terre Blanche Chateau.

Golf du Me­doc ho­tel.

Chateau des Vigiers.

Golf du Me­doc Chateaux.

Terre Blanche Chateau.

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