NORMANDY

NORMANDY

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LINKS WITH HISTORY!

Noble Normandy, the land of William the Conqueror, Calvados and Camembert, not to mention an abundance of excellent golf courses. A province that covers 12,000 square miles, boasting 400 miles of captivating coastline, along what the French call La Manche, the English Channel to the Brits!

Its rich Medieval history is intrinsically intertwined with that of Britain from the days of the Norman conquests in 1066, when Duke William invaded England to claim the throne promised to him by Edward the Confessor, to when the roles were reversed and Normandy, amongst other area of France came under the rule of England.

Normandy is famed for its scintillating shoreline, the chalk cliffs of Etretat, which many believe rival anything that Dover can offer. Brilliant beaches, some poignantly etched in history, following the D-Day landings on June the 6th 1944. Many of these beaches are still known by their wartime code names, Utah, Omaha, Sword etc.

A province which bears deep maritime traditions, its ports are almost household names, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Caen and Dieppe, providing easy access by ferry from the southern coast of England.

Delightful Deauville, Normandy’s premier sea-side resort, oozes Belle Epoque elegance and charm. Conceived in 1860 by Napoleon the Third’s half brother, Duc de Morny, he and some friends transformed an area of marshland and dunes into the summer playground for the Parisian elite; in fact it is often referred to as the “Parisian Riviera”. Deauville exudes an aristocratic atmosphere, bristling with romance, glamour and charisma, you can imbibe the decadence and sophistication of a bygone era at the grandiose Hotel Barriere Normandy, Barriere La Royal or the Deauville Casino. Not that Deauville dwells in the past, boasting a sensational swathe of golden sand, it is a lively resort with just a dash of cutting edge chic!

At the extreme western edge of Normandy’s coast, almost on the border with Brittany, lies the mesmerising, mystical, Mont-Saint-Michel, a tiny tidal island connected to the mainland by a causeway. It is topped majestically by a Benedictine abbey. When the sea mist rolls in, it purveys the illusion that the abbey is floating in the clouds. A bucket list, must do visit that should feature on everyone’s itinerary.

It would be remiss, almost disrespectful, not to make the pilgrimage to the D-Day beaches. Only by being there can you appreciate the herculean task that faced those brave soldiers in scaling the cliffs and dunes against a barrage of incessant enemy fire. Monuments to those courageous men abound, not least at the military cemeteries for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The sight of row after row of pristine white grave stones stretching into the distance is very sobering indeed!

While the rest of France focuses on wine, Normandy’s libation of choice is cider which is regularly drunk with dinner in preference to the fruit of the vine. To finish the gastronomic extravaganza in Norman style, partake in a glass or two of the stronger, local derivative of cider, Calvados, a treat not to be missed!

Golf in Normandy spans back to the late 19th century with the opening of the Dieppe Golf Club in 1897, followed closely by the Barriere Deauville course in1899. In the intervening years a smattering of courses were built but it wasn’t until the French Revolution of golf in the 1980’s and 90’s that Normandy became a serious contender as a golfing destination. Today there are in excess of 40 splendid courses to choose from. The coastal courses tend to hog the limelight, perhaps rightly so, after all, there are not many courses that overlook the scene of the largest amphibian landing, as the Omaha Beach course does!

The term “Hidden Gem” is often spouted by the hyperbolically inclined, but in the case of Golf de Granville, it is merely an apt description. A links course in the truest sense, although like Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham there is no sight of the sea, designed by the doyen of British golf course architecture, Harry Colt, it’s a course that is well worth a detour to experience.

Many of the courses built during the golf boom are located in Normandy’s lush, verdant hinterland. Courses of particular note include Champs de Bataille, Sait Saens, Vaucouleurs and Vandreuil, which is just to the south of Rouen, Normandy’s capital city.

One of the premier attractions of golf holidays in Normandy is the ease of access via its channel ports, even Calais is a mere two hour drive. If you wish to arrive faster and without the fatigue of driving, there are now numerous low cost airlines that service the province. However, should you choose this option, we would strongly recommend car hire.

Golf holidays in Normandy are an experience not to be missed. The cluster of courses collected in this enchanting region are preened to perfection and many rival the best that France has to offer. Normandy entices with a mesmerising mix of memorable moments, the perfect canvas for an exceptional golfing holiday, whether you are seeking golf galore, a cultural crusade, a gastronomic gourmet’s paradise or all, Normandy offers…

LINKS WITH HISTORY!