Dinard Golf ClubGOLF TRAVEL

The beauty of Brittany in eye of individual visitor

By Gary Tipp,
Contributor

The Brittany region can be found in the north west of France on the Breton Peninsula, between the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel. It is one of France's favourite holiday destinations with 600 kilometres of coastline providing sheltered sandy bays, little harbours, dramatic rugged cliffs, islands and pretty estuaries.

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Inland, gentle wooded hills and rivers offer excellent walking and fishing, with lovely old towns steeped in history to explore.

Summer sees colourful festivals full of Breton culture. It also possesses the charming towns of Quimper, St Malo, Vannes, medieval Dinan and Concarneau's citadel. The standing stones of Carnac and the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan are also of interest.

There are 31 golf courses to enjoy in Brittany and each and every one is a delight. The region makes a good venue from March to October with a mild climate, ideal for golf.

You will enjoy your golf on an abundance of well-maintained courses from links to parkland. Brittany can be the perfect choice for those wanting to get away from the crowds, but still looking to play some high quality golf courses.

Must Plays

Val Andre Golf Club par of 72, yardage 6,382

Overlooking a seemingly never-ending series of rugged cliffs and sandy bays, Golf de Val Andre is a must play for any visitor to the region. From tees to greens, and even 20 yards to the left -- or right -- of the fairway, the stunning views and spectacular holes are a treat.

The course is rated among the best in Europe, and the back-to-back cliff-hugging signature holes of the 10th and 11th really have to be played to be believed.

Facilities at Val Andre include: putting green, covered practice ground, coaching tuition courses, equipment hire, trolley hire, golf car hire, pro shop, clubhouse, bar, and restaurant.

Dinard Golf ClubDinard Golf Club par of 68, yardage 5,748

The famous Dinard course is the second oldest course in France, and was formed over a hundred years ago by Scotsman, Tom Dunn. The architecture of the course has been moulded to the rugged terrain, and many a ball has been lost on the adjacent beaches of the region on this wonderful links course.

The sheer quality of the course enables you to play all year round. Dinard can be demanding from the tee, nowhere more so than the signature 6th hole, but the greens are fair and of exceptional quality.

The Art Deco clubhouse is splendid and the food served inside even more so. Dinard Golf Club is a highly recommended experience.

Cice-Blossac Golf Club par of 72, yardage 6,939

Cice-Blossac golf club is situated in the beautiful heartland of Brittany. The wide fairways and generous greens are characteristic of a quality American course. However, you shouldn't think this excellent course, situated close to Rennes, is easy -- far from it.

Closer inspection of the card reveals a nice mix of tree-lined fairways and a large number (and we mean large number) of water hazards.

Cice-Blossac is a testing but fair challenge that makes a pleasant change from the rugged coastal courses in the north west. It's a course for players of all abilities.

La Freslonniere Golf Club par of 72, yardage 6,173

An excellent golf course, situated right in the heart of a century-old forest -- every effort should be made to play La Freslonniere. Sheltered from the wind by any number of different tree varieties, this gently undulating course is challenging, but not unduly difficult - if you keep the ball on the fairway that is, as you don't want to be messing with the rhododendron bushes.

The deceptively difficult dog-leg 14th hole is a favourite with many - especially those straight off the tee. The course stands near the gateway to Rennes, Brittany's capital city.

Solid Seconds

St Malo-Le Tronchet Golf Club par of 72, yardage 6,577

Stood on the first tee eyeing the enormous water hazard you need to clear just to reach the fairway, you can already draw the conclusion that Saint Malo golf club is going to be a challenge. You'd be right.

In the heart of the countryside near Saint Malo, a former pirates haunt, the course is demanding but never anything less than fair. Hit it straight and you'll have no problems around the 18 holes of the never-boring St Malo golf club.

Pen Guen Golf Club par of 68, yardage 5,408

The 18 holes of Pen-Guen golf course run alongside a fine sandy beach making it a rewarding course to play, not only in terms of golf, but also in the appreciation of the wonderful views.

It isn't a long course in terms of yardage, yet it is technically demanding - and will prove a compelling challenge to golfers of all ability levels. A friendly clubhouse rounds off the experience nicely.

Brest-Iroise Golf ClubBrest-Iroise Golf Club par of 71, yardage 6,203

The highly rated Iroise golf club was founded in 1975 and offers 27 wonderfully designed holes in the heart of the wild moors. It even features a resident family of wild boar.

As with many courses in Brittany, it combines some breathtaking scenery with some very entertaining and varied holes. It is less than 30 minutes from Brest, and convenient for Rennes and Quimper. Worth the effort.

Off Course

For the active holiday-maker, Brittany offers sailing, windsurfing and many other watersports. Boat trips, fishing, golf and horse riding are also available.

If you're looking for souvenirs then don't forget shopping for pottery, herbal cosmetics and striped sweaters.

And what about the kids? Well, when not enjoying the fabulous beaches you could try taking them to Brest's vast Oceanopolis exhibition, or the aquariums at Vannes. The Branfere wildlife park at Muzillac also makes an excellent day out for the family. And if you have chance to visit the historic walled city of St Malo make sure you seize the opportunity.

Dining Out

St Malo's old town (Corsair) has numerous cafes and restaurants. As you would imagine, seafood plays an important role in the St Malo local specialities with seafood platters proving popular. As well as the traditional French restaurants, there are many establishments serving foreign dishes.

Le Brick (5 rue Jacques-Cartier) is perhaps the best of the many seafood restaurants set into the walls near the Grande Porte, with a menu that offers fish soup followed by skate, plus many more lavish options.

Dinard Golf ClubAt the Creperie la Brigantine, (13 rue de Dinan) you can get sweet and savoury pancakes at very reasonable prices - the seafood fillings are exceptional. An individual crepe is both inexpensive and, what's more, very filling.

Most of Rennes' more interesting bars and restaurants are to be found in the streets just south of place Ste-Anne and St-Aubin church.

L'Auberge St-Sauveur, (6 rue St-Sauveur) is an up-market, romantic restaurant, in an attractive medieval house near the cathedral.

Le Chouin, (12 rue d'Isly) is an excellent fish restaurant, north of the Centre Colombier towards the river. The dinner menus include nine oysters to start.

Stay And Play

St Malo

Elizabeth Hotel, 2 Rue Des Cordiers, St Malo Situated inside the fortress walls of St Malo, this wonderfully authentic hotel was built in 1558, and is furnished with period furniture.

Hotel Bleu Marine, 49 Chaussee du Sillon Popular hotel with tourists, located within the city walls, and well situated for St Malo's bars and multitude of restaurants.

Rennes

Garden Hotel, 3 Rue Duhamel, Rennes This is a picturesque hotel with an age-old wooden gallery that overlooks the sunny inner courtyard where breakfast is served. The rooms are small but nice, with bright colours and antiques.

Quimper

If You Go

Val Andre Golf Club
Rue de Plage des Valles,
22370 Plenuef Val-Andre,
Brittany
Tel: 02 96 63 01 12
email:
pleneuf.val.andre
@bluegreen.com

Manoir Du Stang, La Foret-Fouesnant A five minute drive outside of the city centre, this is an ivy-covered 16th century manor with a wonderful restaurant.

Dinard Golf Club Boulevard de la Houle, 35800 Saint Briac sur mer, Brittany Tel: 02 99 88 32 07 Web: dinardgolf.com

Cice-Blossac Golf Club Domaine de Cice Blossac, 31570 Bruz, Brittany Tel: 02 99 52 79 79 Web: golfdecice.com

La Freslonniere Golf Club 35650 Rennes, Le Rheu, Brittany Tel: 02 99 14 84 09 email: lafreslo@wanadoo.fr

St Malo-Le Tronchet Golf Club Le Tronchet, 35540 Le Tronchet, Brittany Tel: 02 99 58 96 69

Pen Guen Golf Club 22380 Saint Cast, Le Guildo, Brittany Tel: 02 96 41 77 62 email: golfpg@club-internet.fr

Brest-Iroise Golf Club Parc de Lann-Rohou, 29800 Landermeau, Brittany Tel: 02 98 85 16 17 web: brest-iroise.com

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.