5 Reasons to visit France on a Customized Golf Tour

PerryGolf guests traveling on the Best of Southwest France Escorted Tour this month will savor the beautiful Biarritz, which offers the country’s pleasures – cultural, scenic and gastronomic.

France is the ultimate destination for lovers of wine, food and culture. In recent years it has become a budding locale for golf travelers as well. The 2018 Ryder Cup held outside Paris at Le Golf National was memorable not only for the Europeans trouncing the Americans again, but also for showcasing a golf course that is but one of many highlights on the roster. France has four of the top 10 courses in a Top 100 ranking of Continental Europe, including Tom Simpson’s gem Morfontaine, which was ranked No. 1. Here’s more information on the best courses in France to help you plan your next PerryGolf Customized Tour to this phenomenal region.

The 15th hole at Le Golf National demands bravery and accuracy.

The Albatros course at Le Golf National, designed by architects  Hubert Chesneau and Robert Von Hagge, in collaboration with Pierre Thevenin, is a demanding layout, requiring accurate tee shots and courageous approach shots over the many water hazards that dot the property. Fontainebleau, set inside a forest, is a classic private layout originally designed by Tom Simpson opened in 1909 and redesigned on several occasions through the decades, including a Fred Hawtree touch up in the 1950s. Deauville features nine holes designed by Simpson and nine holes by Henry Cotton. A former host of the French Open, it’s a wonderful mixture of tree-lined, parkland holes and there are now 27 holes on the site. Medoc – Las Chateaux, set in the heart of wine country, features wide fairways bordered by heather, gorse, and broom, enticing golfers into the delights of carefully preserved nature. The fast greens, the influence of winds from the Atlantic Ocean, and the technical difficulties of the layout make this championship course a constant challenge. Chantilly Vineuil, 30 miles north of Paris, has also played host to the French Open (Nick Faldo won here) and Bobby Jones also walked these fairways. Another gem from Simpson, avoiding the numerous bunkers is a key to success on this classy layout with a British feel.

GASTRONOMY – Perhaps no other country is more synonymous with excellent cuisine. There are myriad delicious options scattered about. Enjoy dinner at Chateau du Tertre in the Bordeaux region. Savor a typical French brasserie dinner at La Coupole in Paris, where the seafood is excellent, Patty Smith played guitar on the terrace and authors Henry Miller and James Joyce were frequent guests. Delight in the wild turbot with summer vegetables prepared by executive chef Patrice Vander at Les Fresques, a Michelin One Star restaurant and perennial favorite among PerryGolf guests when they visit Monestier.

Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Restaurants in Paris

WINE – If delectable dining brings fine visions of France to mind, then the reds and whites on the table here, only accentuate those tastes, aromas and feelings. More than seven billion bottles of wine are produced annually in France, originating from vineyards sprinkled across the country in a practice that dates to the sixth century B.C., heavily influenced by wine’s role as sacrament in the Roman Catholic church. Wine-producing regions include: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Corsica, Loire and roughly a dozen more. PerryGolf Escorted and Customized Tours to France often include multiple wine tastings, allowing guests to sample the spectrum of flavors in exquisite settings such as Château Smith Haut Lafitte. The Savoie region, in the southeast corner of France near the Italian and Swiss border is a perfect destination for wine lovers.

PALACES – The Palace of Versailles, originally a hunting lodge for Louis XIII, was completely transformed by his son, Louis XIV. It is a massive building, including the famous Hall of Mirrors. The state rooms are full of beautiful paintings, gilded furniture, exotic china, sumptuous materials and ornate rugs – all the trappings of an extravagant lifestyle and a must-see attraction for those visiting the area. Of course, there’s more. Château de Chambord, Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon and Château de Fontainebleau offer a leisurely way to pass the day.

MUSEUMS – With nearly 10 million visitors annually, the Louvre is one of the world’s iconic museums, home to the Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo. Located in Paris, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, open until 6 p.m. during the week and approximately 9 p.m. on the weekends. Musee d’Orsay is also located in Paris and is one of the five most visited museums in France while Musée de l’Armée is the French military museum and the site of Napoleon’s gilded tomb.

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Distilleries enhance the allure of St Andrews

Any trip to St. Andrews will certainly, hopefully, thankfully include a round on the Old Course, a couple rounds at the Dunvegan and a stroll around the campus of Scotland’s oldest university, where William and Kate met as students.

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Old Tom Morris designed the St Andrews New Course which opened in 1895. Avoid the bunkers.

Wander to the banks of the harbor and gaze across the North Sea toward Carnoustie. Tackle the New Course (which isn’t so New after all) or perhaps venture to the lovely Kingsbarns, a modern gem among the classics.

Tour the ruins of the Castle and the Cathedral, stroll the lovely streets in the quaint village, eat lunch at the St Andrews Links Trust and return to the Fairmont St. Andrews on the outskirts to absorb a scintillating sunset and majestic view of the town.

Then again, there are many other ways to enjoy the Home of Golf.

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Taking the time to tour one of the local distilleries is a fascinating experience that will reveal the method, nuance, time and skill required to craft world-class whisky, beer or, even gin.

About three miles northwest of St. Andrews is Eden Mill, Scotland’s first single site brewery and distillery. The Haig Family made spirits on the property throughout the 19th century, and current ownership revived operations in 2012.

Eden Mill combines an excellent water source to an outstanding, experienced international team of distillers, producing a palate pleasing product that aims to be the world’s best small batch single malt whisky.

The operation expands further in the summer of 2020 enabling Fife’s top tourist attraction to double from 25,000 to 50,000 the number of visitors it can accommodate annually.

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While Eden Mill is an obvious starting point for a guest wanting to learn more about the fabric and backbone of Scotland, there are other options available near St. Andrews. On a summer day, delight in a refreshing gin-and-tonic produced in a farm cottage near Kingsbarns by brother-and-sister team William and Isabella Wemyss, proprietors of Darnley’s Gin. What makes their product unique? They say it best …

 We handcraft Darnley’s Original Gin using a combination of 6 botanicals including elderflower, coriander and lemon peel to create a classic juniper led gin that is smooth and elegant with fresh citrus and floral flavour. 

St Andrews is undoubtedly the home of golf – spiritual and physical – and nearby Lindores Abbey Distillery claims the title of ‘spiritual home of Scottish whisky. While you’ll have to wait until 2023 to sample the first run of the product, which was stored in Woodford Reserve and Old Forester bourbon barrels in 2017, it’s a fascinating trip to this 12th Century abbey and neighboring farm where whisky production dates to 1494 and King James IV.

After a 523-year hiatus, Drew MacDonald restored whisky production. Attention fans of the 1995 hit movie “Braveheart” or history buffs: William Wallace rested in Lindores Abbey after The Battle of Black Earnside in 1298 and the ruins are also open to the public.

Heading north out of St Andrews one arrives in the legendary Speyside region, in the northeast of Scotland, which has earned a global reputation by creating some of the best whisky in the world. The Macallan raised the bar in distilleries to a unprecedented level in 2018 when it opened a stunning £140 million building on the exquisite Easter Elchies Estate.

Golfers who enjoy a Scottish Highlands & St Andrews Customized Tour relish the opportunity to tour the majestic Macallan distillery and Visitor Center.