8 Reasons to Take a Golf Break in France

By: Morgan Clarke

France is still the world's most popular tourist destination - Paris, charming countryside inns, campsites in Brittany, the chateaux of the Loire...There are many reasons. Yet, despite this success, the fairways of the 510+ courses in France are often empty. But once a golfer takes a French Golf Holidays, they're smitten - here's eight reasons why:

Easy Access

Just 100 miles from London you've got three of France's great courses: Le Touquet La Mer, Hardelot Les Pins and Belle Dunes. Drive for another hour and you've got another batch of world-beaters...And it goes on. Whether driving, taking the train or taking a very short flight, you can arrive and play on the same day. As we say "So close, yet so different!"

The Value

Let's be honest, France used to be ridiculously cheap. It's no longer that but it still offers brilliant value-for-money. You can play 36 holes with a buggy at the Jack Nicklaus gem of Paris International (just two hours from Calais) for about £60 and you can play at Deauville for just £19. Compared to courses of the same quality, France offers far superior value. Where else can you play one of the world's great courses all day (Fontainebleau) and have a three-course lunch and free use of a trolley and the practice range for less than the price of a round at an average course in England? For accommodation, France has updated its offering and working in a hotel has always been a respected profession. Generally speaking, you get four-star quality for a three-star price.

The Food

Need I say more? The French live for food...Children study food as part of the national curriculum from the age of seven and nearly everyone is a connoisseur. The produce is fresh, expertly prepared and served with style. Every region has its influence - the seaside, the rivers, the fields. You could tour non-stop and try a different dish every day for years.
It's no coincidence that France has the greatest restaurants in the world and thousands of wonderful brasseries serving delicious dishes all day long. I often wonder how the menus are offered at such a low price (it's probably got more to do with the UK over-charging!) Whilst we Brits concentrate on money, the French talk most about their food.

The Golf

FACTS: 22 courses in Europe's Top 100. Links, parkland, target golf, woodland layouts.
Designed by the likes of Tom Simpson, Harry Colt, Robert von Hagge, Henry Cotton, Trent Jones, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus. 517 courses. Very few members. Chateau clubhouses.

It's Better for the Planet

Air fares are climbing - charges for clubs, luggage, four types of tax etc. You can get to Northern France, Normandy, Champagne, Brittany, Paris and even the south-west of France within one to three hours of getting off Eurotunnel or your ferry, and no need to add to your carbon footprint in the process!

The Weather

As a general rule, the weather is warmer and more consistent that the UK. The South virtually guarantees sunshine - particularly the Languedoc Rousillon region. I find that the Loire River is the cut off point from being a few degrees warmer than "Old Blighty" to offering truly lovely weather.

The Fine Wine

Despite all the advances of New World wines, France is still considered to offer the best wines in the world. For red wines, Medoc; for white wines, Burgundy. Then there's Champagne, the lovely light whites of the Loire, the fruity rose of Provence. Surprise, surprise, all those regions also offer stunning golf courses. There's nothing nicer than playing a round of golf in the morning, lunch at the clubhouse or a nearby brasserie and stopping off at a chateau for a tasting and opportunity to buy great wines at very low prices. A very productive day!

The Culture

Culture plays a hugely important role in French society. From fashion to paintings, from architecture to history, you only need look at the attention and public grief at the recent passing of Yves Saint Laurent to realise what culture means to the French. There are museums everywhere and they make a great holiday for culture-vultures.

I could go on, but I'd be repeating the main points again and again: for great courses, fine dining, high culture and terrific weather, you can't beat a luxury golf holiday in France.

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