Features

Golfing around... Paris

1 Sep 2004 by BusinessTraveller

CELY GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB

Where is it? 45km south of Paris, 14km from Fontainebleu.

What's it like?The approach is through an underground car park, with direct access to an atrium-style glass clubhouse. The centrepiece is a chateau (allegedly 14th century),
but it has been so heavily restored for the corporate market that it resembles a Disney film set.
The welcome is disconcertingly reminiscent of Stepford Wives, but the user-friendly course, stretched over a gentle hillside with half the holes dominated by strategically placed water hazards fulfils its main purpose ? ensuring that technically challenged golfers get round with their egos intact.

Address: Le Chateau, route de Saint Germain, 77930 Cely-en-Biere.

Contact: tel 33 164 38 03 07, [email protected], www.club-albatros.com

Price: E64 weekends and bank holidays, otherwise E42.

Can I rent clubs? Yes, E18

Club hours: 0745?1930

Minimum required handicap: 30

Facilities: 18-hole course, par 72, 5874m.

After golf: A luxurious bar, with deep leather sofas and televised sport.

GOLF D'ETIOLLES

Where is it?30km south of Paris.

What's it like?A gem of a complex, with quality accommodation in colonial houses furnished with antiques. On flat watery terrain, intelligent hackers prepared to play to their limitations can expect rewarding results, but single-digit handicap players may find the course rather easy. All will enjoythe clubhouse for its informal restaurant, bar and friendly staff.

Address: Vieux Chemin de Paris, 91450 Etiolles.

Contact: tel 33 169 89 59 59, [email protected], www.etiollescolonial.com.

Price: Les Cerfs E45 weekdays, E66.5 weekends.

Can I rent clubs?Yes, E15 (full set), E8 (half set).

Club hours: 0730?2030

Minimum required handicap: 36

Facilities: Les Cerfs, 18 holes, par 73, 6232m + 9-hole Les Chenes, driving range and practice area.

After golf:clubhouse with bar and restaurant, overnight recommended.

CHANTILLY

Where is it? 45km north of Paris.

What's it like? A thoroughbred of a course near France's answer to Newmarket races, with a quirky, early-20th-century clubhouse and a traditional championship course. Golfers are also guaranteed good quality post-round refreshments, either on an expansive terrace overlooking the rolling hectares or in the bar's deep leather sofas.

Address: Allee de la Menagerie, 60500 Chantilly.

Contact: tel 33 344 57 04 43, [email protected].

Price: E80 Mon?Wed; E85 Fri am; members only Fri pm, weekends and bank holidays; closed Thurs.

Can I rent clubs? Yes, E25.

Club hours: 0800?2030.

Minimum required handicap: 35

Facilities: Two 18-hole golf courses: Vineuil, par 71, 6396m; Longères, par 73, 6242m; driving range and practice area.

After golf: Clubhouse with bar and restaurant (breakfast and lunch).

GOLF NATIONAL

Where is it?30km southwest of Paris.

What's it like?L'Albatros, the venue for the French Open, is a brute of a course, with fairways that wind between massive stretches of water and artificial sand hills covered with long hairy rough. Low handicappers will enjoy the tough Robert Von Hagge layout, but more fragile golfing spirits may survive better on the easier L'Aigle course. The externally bleak Hotel Novotel serves up surprisingly good food and atmosphere.

Address: 2, avenue du Golf, 78280 Guyancourt.

Contact: tel 33 130 43 36 00, [email protected], www.golf-national.com.

Price: Albatros E68, Aigle E44 weekends, bank holidays, otherwise E48 and E33 respectively.

Can I rent clubs?Yes, E8/16.

Club hours:0730?1945 weekends, 0745?1915 weekdays.

Minimum required handicap: Albatros 24 (men), 28 (women).

Facilities: Two 18-hole courses, Albatros, par 72, 6495m, Aigle, par 71, 5936m + 9-hole Oiselet, driving range and practice area.

After golf: A meal or a drink at the Fairway in the hotel.

GOLF DES YVELINES

Where is it? 45km west of Paris.

What's it like? With deer roaming among the ancient oaks that line the fairways and a rich variety of bird life, Yvelines is the perfect escape from high-pressure business meetings in the capital. The designers had the terrain and space to create an imposing course, and so they did, but with the emphasis on providing easy pickings for the core corporate clientele rather than a testing game for Tiger Woods wannabes.

Address: Chateau de la Couharde, La Queue-les-Yvelines, 78940.

Contact: tel 33 134 86 48 89, [email protected],www.opengolfclub.com.

Price: E56 weekends, 18 holes, E37 weekdays, full day.

Can I rent clubs? Yes, E15/18.

Club hours: 0800?1900

Minimum required handicap: 36 at weekends, otherwise none.

Facilities: 18-hole course, Les Chenes, par 72, 6344m, and 9-hole course, Les Tilleuls, driving range and practice area.

After golf: Chateau clubhouse with bar and terrace restaurant.

Getting there

P&O Ferries, 01304 864156, www.poferries.com. Five-day return (car plus up to nine passengers), from £85. Further information: Maison de la France, 178 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9AL, tel 09068 244123, [email protected], www.franceguide.com.

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