France isn’t known as one of the world’s top golfing nations but as host to the Ryder Cup 2018, the country has found itself at the centre of the global golfing stage. Helped by the fact that Europe clinched yet another Ryder Cup victory, golf courses in France are now enjoying their share of the spotlight. Golf cruises are increasingly enquired about and absolutely an option, but where to start…
Choosing the best golf courses in France
France easily ranks as the world’s favourite holiday destination and runs to a long list of tourist attractions. But curiously, and despite having over 730 courses, golf doesn’t usually feature on the beaten tourist trail. There are, however, lots of great opportunities to play some challenging golf and enjoy some of the country’s most glorious scenery at the same time. Inspired by the Ryder Cup, we’ve put together a list of the 9 best golf courses in France, all are easy to access when you’re cruising the rivers and canals.
Golf National L’Albatros
Our first stop is at the Ryder Cup host itself. Part of the Golf National courses, L’Albatros is one of the most challenging on the French circuit. Finished in 1990, the course has a unique design that was created using man made hills and slopes. As well as a Ryder Cup venue, L’Albatros has hosted the French Open since 1991 when the competition began.
Location: L’Albatros lies 32km (20mi) to the west of Paris and enjoys the splendid surroundings of Versailles.
Nearest river cruise: Get in a round at this golf course in France when you cruise the Seine.
Still near the Seine and the capital, Fontainebleau Golf is one of the oldest golf courses in France. Established in 1909, it regularly ranks among the top courses in the country and has a unique location deep in a forest. Rocks, heather and ancient trees accompany you along the 18 holes. And the 19th hole is a clubhouse built in typical Normandy style with charming frescoes by Paul Tavernier from the Barbizon school of art.
Location: Fontainebleau sits just a short distance from Champagne sur Seine and is about an hour’s drive from Paris.
Nearest river cruise: Try out your golfing skills at Fontainebleau as a day’s excursion from one of our Northern Burgundy hotel barge cruises.
Our tour of great golf courses in France moves south to another majestic river and one of the country’s most scenic spots: the Loire Valley. Les Bordes golf course lies on a hunting estate in the Sologne Forest and has to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. Lake after lake greet you along the 18 holes and stay tuned for this one because Les Bordes is in the process of adding a second course.
Location: Les Bordes lies equidistant between two of the most famous landmarks on the Loire River: Blois and Orléans.
Nearest river cruise: Test your tee shot at Les Bordes when you join one of our Loire Valley cruises.
Golf Château de Chailly
If you fancy combining your round with a 16th century chateau, this golf course is for you. Views of the stunning palace come at their best from the 11th hole but the other 17 holes meander around natural streams and historic trees so great vistas are a given here.
Location: The Château de Chailly is just a short drive west of Dijon in the village of Chailly-sur-Armaçon.
Nearest river cruise: Château de Chailly is the perfect spot for a round of golf when you’re cruising the waterways of Southern Burgundy.
This Bordeaux golf course provides possibly the best combination of all. In the heart of Bordeaux country not only are you playing at one of the best golf courses in France, place your shots against a backdrop of vineyards. And you can celebrate (or lament) your final score with a spot of Bordeaux wine tasting.
Location: Grand Saint-Emilionnais enjoys a privileged location just outside the famous village of Saint Emilion with its legendary status in the world of Bordeaux wine.
Villenueve sur Lot
Not far from the vicinity of Bordeaux, take in a round at Villeneuve sur Lot golf course while you enjoy the bucolic scenery around the river Garonne, Aquitaine. This relatively new course – it was designed in 1987 by Robert Berthet – comes surrounded by apple and plum orchards. And if you time your game for the autumn, you can help yourself to fresh fruit while you’re waiting to tee off!
Location: Villenueve sur Lot lies on the River Lot, just a short distance from the Garonne itself.
Nearest river cruise: Enjoy this scenic course while you’re on a hotel barge cruising the Garonne.
Our search for the best golf courses in France moves south to Provence and one of the country’s most historic golf clubs. Cannes-Mougins dates back to 1923 when European aristocrats Prince Pierre of Monaco and Baron Edward Rothschild teamed up with the Aga Khan (Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III) to design the course. It has since been renovated twice (most recently in 2015) and sits in a forest crossed by the Bouillide River.
Location: Cannes-Mougins golf course lies just north of Cannes in the heart of Provence.
Nearest river cruise: Make the most of this golf course when you cruise Provence.
Still in Provence, this golf course includes the acclaimed Le Château course, voted the best golf course in France in 2017. Something of a challenge, Le Château offers plenty of water hazards. If you feel your golfing skills aren’t quite up to them, you can watch some of the world’s best players try their luck at the annual French Riviera Masters held at Terre Blanche every September.
Location: Terre Blanche is an easy trip from Aix-en-Provence, which lies to the west of the course.
Nearest river cruise: Put your handicap to the test while enjoying a Camargue cruise.
Golf Club de Palmola
The last of our best golf courses in France lies near Toulouse. Designed by Michael Fenn in 1974, this course lies deep in the Buzet Forest. Golf Club de Palmola ranks as one of the most challenging courses in the country and promises to stretch your game like never before. Treat yourself to a glass of local Bordeaux at the end!
Location: Palmola is just a short drive from Toulouse.
Nearest river cruise: Get in a round at Palmola when you take the helm on a self drive cruise along the Canal de Garonne.
PIN this post: