How to Golf Your Way Around Euro 2016
With Euro 2016 reaching its conclusion and the home nation still very much in the running for the title of European Champion, French interest in football is reaching a fever pitch. That’s all very well if you enjoy ‘the beautiful game’, but what if you prefer your sport a bit more relaxing?
France is full of world class golf courses, ready for professionals and amateurs alike to take to the green over the summer months. So if you want to visit the host cities of this year’s championship but avoid the games themselves, where are the best places to tee off and what else can you do while you’re there?
This northern French city is one of this summer’s championship major host cities but boasts much more than a football stadium. Lille is France’s jewel in the North East, with beautiful architecture laced throughout the city, meaning a simple walk through the centre can become a sight-seeing tour.
Golf course: AA Saint-Omer Golf Club
The host of the annual European Tour and with a three-star hotel as part of the resort, Saint-Omer has both championship courses for experienced players and a short academy track for novices. With a high “environmental quality” rating, the course offers beautiful natural surroundings to escape the hubbub of the city and avoid any rowdy football fans.
Signature dish: Tarte au Maroilles
Made with the tastiest local cheese and traditional French pastry, you’ve simply got to try the Tarte aux Maroilles while you’re in Northern France.
Must-see: Grand Place
The main city square is a popular meeting point when staying in the city and great place to get your bearings. With a wide selection of shops during the day and late night cafes and bars by night, there’s always somewhere to enjoy.
France’s capital has the third biggest population by metro area in Europe and one of the most diverse populations on the planet. There really is something for everyone in the city and it’s impossible to fit everything into one day, especially when it’s packed with football fans.
Golf course: Golf Blue Green Rueil-Malmaison
Situated on the banks of the Seine, this inner city golf course is ideal if you want a quick round during a short break in the capital.
Signature dish: Macaron
Paris is well known for its delicate pastries and sweets, and none are more famous than the city’s macaron suppliers. In an array of colours and flavours, they make a great gift or an indulgent snack.
Must see: Pont Alexandre III
This is the ideal place to get an atmospheric Parisian picture taken. Crossing the river Seine, this ornate 19th-century bridge links up the city’s main street (the Champs-Élysées) with attractions like the Eiffel Tower.
This southern city is famed for its regional wine production and is the second most visited city, after Paris, in France. There are over 7,000 wineries in the region all with their own processes and distinct tastes, so you can be sure there’ll be a vineyard that caters to your taste.
Golf course: Golf du Médoc Resort
This course isn’t for beginners, so if you’re an inexperienced golfer it may be worth trying one of the region’s other courses (Teynac Golf and Golf Bordeaux are both great). However, if you’re up to the challenge then this course is sure to test your abilities. With an average July temperature of 21°C, make sure you pack the sun lotion.
Signature dish: Entrecôte Marchand de Vin
This wonderfully simple French staple combines the region’s distinctive wine with the finest steak. You’ll find restaurants all over the city selling it, so you can indulge after a long day out on the fairway.
Must see: The Water Mirror
In the centre of the city is the world’s largest reflecting pool. Take a snap by the water or take a wander through the Place de la Bourse for some of the most beautiful architecture in the city.
Having won the French Ligue 1, 7 times in a row between 2001 and 2008, Lyon is absolutely a football city. However, in between the distinct cuisine and scenery, there’s more than just the Parc Olympique Lyonnais to keep you occupied.
Golf course: Golf de Salvagny
Only a 20-minute drive away from the city centre, you’ve got no excuse to not pay the Lyon Salvagny Golf Club a visit if you’re visiting the city. Set amongst the picturesque mountains and forest outside Lyon, here are 18 holes worth savouring.
Signature dish: Quenelles de Brochet
This signature Lyonnaise dish uses the best local pike to create subtly flavoured fish dumplings, famed for their light, creamy texture.
Must see: Fourvière Hill
If you want fantastic views over the city, then no place will offer better than the Fourvière Hill. Take the world’s oldest funicular railway line to transport you up and visit the beautiful Catholic Basilica of Fourvière when you get to the top.
The capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region nestles near the mountains and is under two hours away from the Spanish border. As a result, the city has a distinctive Mediterranean flavour, enhanced by the distinct terracotta buildings that give the city the nickname La Ville Rose (The Pink City).
Signature dish: Cassoulet
Essentially the French version of a casserole, cassoulet uses game meat and vegetables to produce a warming and hearty meal. It might be too heavy for lunch mid-game, but the rich flavours accompanied with a glass of red wine are the perfect accompaniment to a cool summer night.
Must see: Chapelle des Carmélites
This tiny 18th-centurychapel tucked away in the streets of the city, is a feast for the eyes. With beautiful frescoed ceilings and artwork, it’s ideal for a short but sweet visit.
Golf course: Golf Club de Toulouse
Part of a group of fantastic golf courses in the Midi-Pyrénées, the Toulouse Golf Club is the finest course in the region. Many of the club alumni have gone on to great things including Christophe Berthelot and Marine Monnet Melocco.
Another football-mad city that is no stranger to passionate fans. The city consistently boasts the highest football attendance records and in Ligue 1, and this passion also extends itself to other aspects of the city’s culture too.
Golf course: Golf de Marseille La Salette
A mere ten minutes from the port and only 30 minutes from the airport, this golf course was built at one of France’s historic Provence ‘besides’ (fortified towns). Visit to enjoy beautiful views, locally sourced food and courses for amateurs and professionals.
Signature dish: Bouillabaisse
Another distinctly French, world famous fish dish is bouillabaisse. A simple fish stew that forms part of any reputable French classics menu, the dish originated in Marseille and makes use of the array of seafood that has historically passed through the port.
Must see: The Old Port
In a port city, the obvious must-see destination is the Old Port. Take a stroll by the sea in this naturally occurring harbourto gaze enviously at the yachts and catamarans or even treat yourself to some fish from the famous fish market.
To find out more information on golfing in France, see the full guide to Golfing Around the Euro’s here.
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