A perfect Dordogne holiday – or just an afternoon
Think golf and you may find yourself thinking of the Spanish Costas or the Algarve. But wise up, folks. The Dordogne has some excellent places for golf, with all the added attractions of nice places to stay – and of course the region’s wine and food to help you recover from the day’s exertions.
The Dordogne’s top golf attraction combines hotel facilities with an 18 hole course. The Château des Vigiers is conveniently placed between the airports of Bergerac and Bordeaux if you’re after a golfing holiday. What’s more, if your other half isn’t keen on golf there are the rival attractions of Bergerac and the local vineyards.
The Vigiers course was designed by Donald Steel, named by Golf Magazine in 2003 as the fourth most influential golf course architect in the world. The ninth and eighteenth greens are in front of the Château, and the course is designed to provide regular views of it.
The hotel facilities are in and around the main château building. Special packages cater for those who want unlimited golf as well as those who prefer luxuriating in the special spa centre. Get yourself a cheap flight out to Bergerac with Ryanair and it works out at as incredibly good value for golfers.
Also close to Bergerac, is the Château Les Merles at Mouleydier – ten minutes upstream. Here the enterprising Dutch interior designer Jan van Grinsen decided to renovate the buildings and create a family business with his children. Beside the Château is a nine-hole golf course. The Château’s origins go back to the seventeenth century, but its present form is largely due to one of Napoleon’s generals. The restaurant has received a number of accolades.
If the facilities at Les Merles don’t match those of the Château des Vigiers, they’re offering something different, in the form of a development of individual villas aimed at foreign owners. Each has between three and five bedrooms, security and access to the golf course. The Grinsens offer rental management when the houses aren’t occupied by the owners. It may prove attractive to those wanting a pied-à-terre in the peace and calm of the Dordogne together with income as well as access to their favourite sport.
To the north, at Saint-Félix-de-Reilhac, plumb in the middle of the triangle formed by Bergerac, Périgueux and Sarlat, you’ll find an eighteen hole course at Golf de la Marterie- again without hotel accommodation.
If you’re happy with a nine-hole course and want four-star hotel facilities in this part of the Dordogne, you can try the Domaine de Rochebois, at Vitrac, on the north side of the Dordogne river.
And finally, you’ll find eighteen holes at the municipal course at Périgueux, which welcomes visitors in the summer season. This may be more functional than luxurious, but keeps the locals very happy.
So forget the Costas and come on down to the Dordogne!