FRANCE

Not many people think about a golf trip to France.  Spain, tick.  Portugal, tick. Turkey, tick (political climate depending).  Yet France normally gets a slightly confused looks and that's a shame as there are some fantastic options there and some quality golf which will knock the socks off most courses in the rest of Continental Europe.

Golf in France in many ways has similarities to an experience in the UK.  Many of the courses were designed by some of the great British architects of the early 19th century and produce fine tests which wouldn't be out of keeping with the Surrey belt of wonderful courses. On top of that, some of the best resort courses around can be found here - Terreblanche and the National would both stand up against many of the best in Europe.

On top of that the ambience at many clubs is akin to that you will find in the UK - for example the lunch at Morfontaine beats even the venerable Muirfield fare.  Courses are are usually presented in great condition and while the standard of play on courses will often be variable, the enthusiasm cannot be faulted.

If you are looking for a place to base yourself then there are two which come to mind.  Firstly, the Paris area has Morfontaine, Fontainebleau, Saint Germain, Chantilly and the National all within a relatively easy drive.  Morfontaine is blow-your-socks-off-amazing.  I have never played an inland golf course as good as this.  If you ever get the chance to go there then drop anything.  The others all have pros and cons but any combination would be strong - I thought Fontainbleau was very special.

The south of France is another area to consider.  It was the scene of my very first golf trip and didn't disappoint.  Terreblanche is excellent, Taulane very good and there are a whole bunch of great fillers down there such as Cannes Mougins, Saint Donat and Grasse

Golf in France isn't cheap but it often represents good value and with a little planning you can get something which more than holds its own with other better known European venues.

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