City break: Paris, France
Six courses in Paris to choose from
Morfontaine Achingly gorgeous heathland-woodland among pines, heather and springy turf. Tom Simpson design is, however, very exclusive though. Worth trying to get on – it’s that good…
Golf National The Ryder Cup host begins and finishes in thrilling fashion, with so much water around and very little margin for error. It was built on flat farmland but rubbish was brought in to allow Herbert Chesneau and Robert von Hagge to create the mounds that define the fairways. The No.2, L’Aigle, is a good way to warm up.
Fontainebleau Master craftsman Simpson set down this work of art among rocks, bracken and heather, and between pine, birch, beech and oak. The former royal hunting grounds were the perfect natural landscape for Simpson to weave his magic. One of the continent’s finest courses, unquestionably.
Saint Germain Harry Colt used the ‘fill’ from the construction of the railway line that runs through the course to add interest to the flat terrain he was presented with. Classic Colt 3s and bags of interest around the greens.
Chantilly The Vineuil – its sister is the Longeres – is woodland-parkland in style and oozes quality. The club itself reminds you of Swinley Forest and a day here with lunch in between is one of the best in continental golf.
St Nom La Breteche The Blue and Red make a fine composite (host of the Seve Trophy) but the latter is the No.1. Both were laid out by Fred Hawtree in woodland on the edge of Marly le Roi forest.
Ideas for off-course activities in Paris
Disneyland Paris To the east of Paris lies this enormous fun park that is heaven for kids. Adults may not find it massively good fun (it is stressful!) but your little ones will categorically love it.
Sporting attractions Watch French Open tennis at Roland Garros, Six Nations and Autumn Test rugby at Stade de France or football at Paris St Germain – what a brilliant combination with some top-class golf.
Sight seeing Combine a family holiday with a chance to play some of Europe’s best courses by going on trips to Tour Eiffel, the Champs Elysses, L’Arc Triomphe, Montmarte, Notre Dame, the Sacre Couer – plus a host of legendary galleries. Oh, and you can always just relax among the cafe culture.
Three places to stay in Paris
Crecy East of Paris in Domaine de la Brie is this resort with a course by Arnold Palmer’s design team. It sits in the Marne Valley (which is near Disneyland Paris, see left). It is one of two 18-holers on site and the accommodation and food are absolutely superb. It’s also convenient for Fontainebleau.
Golf National There is a solid but unspectacular hotel next to the clubhouse here and it also offers good access to St Nom La Breteche and Saint-Germain.
City centre You might prefer to lap up the myriad delights of central Paris and that is not a bad idea, notably because the courses are dotted around the outer ring road like numbers on a clock, so are thus easy to drive to.