By Brandon Tucker,
Of the 33 regions in France, the Rhone-Alps region has the second most golf courses, with over 60 of the country's 500-plus designs.
Golf is abundant here in both the mountains and in the lower, rolling hillsides around the Rhone and Saone Rivers, both of which run through the region's largest city of Lyon.
Lyon is the cultural and tourist centerpiece of the region, considered by many to be France's culinary capital. The city center, including the charming, Renaissance-style old town dating back to the 14th century, can be explored on foot, and the streets are filled with countless bouchons, informal, outdoor eateries with shoulder-to-shoulder seating.
A dozen golf courses are in the surrounding areas, including Golf du Governors, host to a European Challenge Tour event.
Southeast of Lyon, Grenoble is the "capital of the Alps," host to the 1968 Winter Olympic Games. While the city itself feels more industrial and less magical than older Lyon, its surroundings are the attraction. Mountain bikers train in the mountains in the summertime, and hiking and horseback riding trails abound throughout the forests. The top mountain golf course here is Grenoble International, a championship Robert Trent Jones Jr. design overlooking the city.
The most popular hub to fly into when visiting the Rhone-Alps is Lyon (airport code LYS). Several European carriers operate here, most notably Air France. Delta Airlines flies non-stop from New York (JFK), though many also connect on Air France through Paris.
Grenoble (GNB) is another option, though it's smaller and usually more expensive to fly into than Lyon. However, this airport puts you in the heart of the Alps.
Lyon is a very tourist-friendly city and can best be explored by staying at the Cour Des Loges, a 4-star property in the heart of Lyon's Old Town, where you can easily access many of the town's shops and sights, and are just a couple blocks from the two rivers that dissect the city. Old town has many buildings dating back to the Renaissance period, and the hotel's series of connected buildings has parts dating back to the 14th century. No two rooms are alike and it features many unique styles of rooms and suites. Onsite is a Pure Altitude Spa, bar and restaurants and outdoor terraces. Be sure to head to the top floor for a fabulous view of the city's rooftops at sunset.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.