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The Southern region of France, stretching along the Mediterranean coastline, has it all when it comes to golf holidays. The magnificent scenery lends itself to the creation of some spectacular golf courses and with a fantastic climate, boasting around 300 days of sunshine every year; it’s pretty safe to leave the waterproofs at home as well! Away from the course, famous beaches beckon during the day and sublime gastronomy – Monaco and St. Tropez boasts some of the world’s best restaurants – and fine wine await you at night. What more could you ask for from a golf holiday in the sun?
Staying in and around Cannes opens a whole world of opportunities to explore this amazing region of France. Galas, regattas, the famous Cannes Film Festival and an outrageously attractive and affluent set characterize this famous French city. The town certainly lives up to its motto that, “life is a festival”, and for those who enjoy the buzz of the city, the hotel-lined La Croisette is an excellent base from which to explore the region’s golf courses.
First popularized by Coco Chanel, Cannes’ beaches are pristine and a must for travelling golfers looking to soak up the winter sun. Some hotels boast private beaches where you can enjoy top class food and drinks just a stone’s throw from the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean while public beaches such as including Plages du Midi and Plages de la Boca, offer the chance to explore the stunning coastline at your leisure.
For those who aren’t seduced by the glamour of Cannes’, the abundance of natural beauty within easy reach will surely appeal. The harbour, the bay, the clutch of islands off the coast and the old quarter, Le Suquet, all spring into life on a sunny day and are a joy to explore, as are the region’s golf courses.
Golf de la Grand Bastide.
Grande Bastide is one of the Côte d’Azur’s most famous golf courses and is a must for those taking their clubs to this part of the world. Surrounded by the picturesque region’s hills, the course sits in the watchful gaze of Opio and Chateauneuf de Grasse and the feel is oh so Provencal.
Designed by Cabell B. Robinson, one of the foremost course designers in Europe, Grande Bastide is a parkland beauty where the walk among the Cypress and Willow trees, with seemingly ever changing panoramic views on full display, is a peaceful and relaxing one to say the least.
The course is relatively open from the tee – good news for those who like to let rip with the driver – but countless bunkers and a handful of water hazards make for a testing round of golf. With the aromas of the Grasse region lingering in the air, golfers paying Grande Bastide a visit won’t be disappointed.
Another nearby course, Golf Opio Valbonne, is actually the sister course of Grande Bastide and between them they tick all the boxes for a golf holiday in Southern France. Conceived in 1966 by English architect Donald Harradine, Opio Valbonne is one of the oldest courses in the region and is adored by local and visiting golfers alike.
Golf d’Opio Valbonne.
Opio Valbonne, nestled between the sea and mountains near Cannes, Nice and Grasse in the beautiful undulating land of the Bois d’Opio, is one of our favourite venues in the South of France. The course sits among 220 hectares of mature woodland and houses a Gallo-Roman aqueduct which adds a unique flavour to the round. As well as being one of the most picturesque courses in the region, Opio Valbonne offers a good test of golf where, unlike Grande Bastide, accuracy is at a premium. Approach shots, on the front nine especially, must be well measured as there are plenty of hazards waiting to gobble up stray shots and when you move into the tree lined back nine, hitting fairways is the order of the day.
The short 11th is one of the course’s many highlights and at 180 yards from the back tees, hitting the relatively small and elevated putting surface is no easy task. Any shots to the right will most likely end up in a watery grave with a prominent 12-foot stone wall separating the hazard from the green.
During days away from the golf course, if you have had your fill of Cannes and fancy a change of scenery, the fascinating Principality of Monaco or the charming Provencal town of St Tropez are both well worth a visit.
Whatever you choose to add to your itinerary, your golf holiday to the South of France is sure to be a memorable one.
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