Undoubtedly one of the most amazing golf and gastronomy experiences you could ever imagine is located in the south west region of France. A combination of fairytale princess chateaus, amazing gastronomy and wine all paired with spectacular golf courses makes for an unforgettable vacation. Beyond the golf courses it is the incredible history behind many of these locations that make them so unique. Biarritz, St Jean de Luz and St Emilion all played a significant role in creating a fairytale golf story starting with golf in Biarritz.
Biarritz became the summer place for high society in 1854 when Empress Eugeni, the wife of Napoleon III, built a palace on the beach along the Atlantic Ocean. The palace is now the Hôtel du Palais a five star hotel that still welcomes visitors from all over the world with the elegance and glamour of a yesteryear. A modern luxury version hotel is the Sofitel located on the beautiful costal seaside and five minutes from the Golf de Biarritz le Phare. The course has been welcoming golfers since 1888 and was originally built by a group of British residents who wanted to practice their favorite sport during their summer holidays in Biarritz. It was given the name “le Phare”, lighthouse, because of its close proximity to the iconic lighthouse that jets out the coast of Biarritz.
The golf course at Golf d’Arcangues offers a pleasant surprise as the chateau d’Arcangues comes into sight as you are playing the 13th, 14th and 15th hole. The history of the d’Arcangues family dates back nine centuries and the domains have been handed down from father to son in direct line ever since. The current chateau was built in 1900 and has been hosting kings, queens, royalty and notable celebrities throughout time including Hemingway, Duke of Windsor, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to name a few. The current owner of the chateau, Guy d’Arcangues, was part of the French golf team for 18 years and several times became the French champion.
Golf Chantaco located in Saint Jean de Luz is a hilly track that winds through the beautiful French countryside. The course was the realization of Rene Thion de la Chaume and his daughter Simone Thion de la Chaume won the 1927 Ladies British amateur and took over the club presidency from her father in 1930. She was married to Rene Lacoste, the famous tennis player and founder of the fashion brand Lacoste. Their daughter Catherine Lacoste was an exceptional amateur golfer that learned on this course and went on to win the Ladies British amateur tournament 42 years after her mother and also won the Woman’s US Open as an amateur she was also the club president from 1974 to 2009. It is still run today by the Lacoste family and is one of the most charming golf courses you will find in the region.
The 16th century chateau, Le Chateau des Vigiers, just 20 minutes outside of Saint Emilion, offers a gastronomic one Michelin star restaurant, 25 personalized rooms reflecting the history of the chateau, spa, wine and 27 holes of golf. Golf course architect Donald Steel created a course with three different nine hole experiences the Lake, the Valley and the Vines. Each course winds through unique aspects of the French countryside and vineyard region. Many of the courses are predominantly walking course that use pull carts thus allowing you to greatly appreciate the history and nature that is uniquely France.