Blue-Green Sainte-Maxime


With stunning hilltop towns, cultural cities, stylish beachside resorts, gastronomic delights, wonderful wines, and a fine collection of golf courses, the close-knit southern French regions of Provence and the Côte d’Azur are packed with hedonistic pleasures to delight all the senses

The south eastern regions of France have enjoyed a longstanding love affair with British travelers going back to the Victorian age, when London’s wealthy elite would head for the glamourous coastal resorts to be found on the Riviera – including Nice, Cannes and St Tropez – to take in the azure waters, enjoy the year-round sunshine and promenade along the waterfronts in their finery.

Little has changed in that respect over the last 150 years, although the arrival of far quicker modes of transport – namely cheap short-haul air travel – has ensured that a holiday to the region is within reach of a much wider demographic.

Cannes on the Cote D’Azur

France’s south east corner, taking in the regions of Provence and the Côte d’Azur, certainly has plenty going for it was a year-round holiday destination, with long, hot summers giving way to cooler winters and warm springs, while its stunning range of hilltop villages and

culture-laden cities, such as Arles, Aix and Avignon, combined with its chic coastal resorts, have provided an irresistible attraction for generations of travelers looking to experience its uniquely relaxed Mediterranean vibe.

Provence and Cote d’Azur makes for a wonderful destination for golf too, with year-round playability and an amazing choice of over 60 courses spread throughout the region benefit from attractive rates with the Provence Côte d’Azur Golf Pass (discounts of up to 20%) making it more than a match for better known golfing destinations in southern Europe.


If you’re looking for two adjacent but heavily contrasting landscapes, then you need look no further than Provence and Côte d’Azur, which rub alongside each other in a harmony that gives visitors the chance to experience two of France’s most renowned destinations in the same trip.

Provence evokes images of fields of lavender and sunflowers, olive orchards and vineyards, all of which inspired artists like Van Gogh and Cezanne with the backdrop of sunlight and clear blue skies.

Provence has a history dating back before the Romans, who colonised the region and left an amazing legacy of architecture captured by the coliseum at Arles and the theatre at

Orange, which are still in use today. The Camargue on the Mediterranean coast Is home to an amazing fauna and flora, as it is a stopover for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, while white horses and black bulls roam free – nearly- next to pink flamingo colonies, and inland you have the rugged Luberon and The Alpilles dotted with stunning hilltop villages.

Meanwhile, the Cote d’Azur – also known as the French Riviera – boasts a coastline that has captured the hearts and souls of travellers from the beginning of time. The seashore that extends from St Tropez to the Italian border is one of the world’s great seaside destinations, packed with gorgeous beaches, luxury hotels, designer bars, belle époque villas, coastal trails, red-rock headlands and offshore islands. From Monte Carlo’s casino and Nice’s Promenade des Anglais to the Cannes film festival and St Tropez’s yacht harbour, the Côte d’Azur is home to some of the most iconic spots in Europe’s collective consciousness.

Beyond the coast, the region is also home to some spectacular hilltop villages and mountain scenery, along with vineyards, flower farms that feed the French perfume industry and more than its fair share of great art museums.

With such heavily contrasting landscapes, it is not surprising that the golf courses in Provence and Côte d’Azur are similarly unique in their challenges. From the fiddly fairways to be found at the ultra-exclusive Royal Mougins in Cannes, to the two finely-sculpted Dave Thomas-designed layouts at Terre Blanche; from the exclusive
retreat that is Pont Royal, home to the only Seve Ballesteros-designed course in France, and the stunning, but slightly more roughly-hewn course to be found at Domaine de Manville – which winds its way around an olive farm – Provence and the Côte d’Azur is a true golfer’s paradise. Here’s our guide to some of the region’s golfing highlights to help you plan your holiday itinerary…

Pont Royal

One of the most revered golf clubs in the region, Pont Royal, which opened for play in 1992, enjoys the elevated status of being the only course in France designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros. Located in the pretty town of Mallemort, in the foothills of the Alps, Pont Royal was built on 75 hectares of ‘garrigue’, ancient hunting ground through pine woods and hills covered in wild herbs, with a superb backdrop of the Alpilles, the Luberon, the Durance Valley, and the Massif of the Trevaresse.

The host of an Alps Tour event for a decade after it first opened, Pont Royal’s 6,327m course is a tight, demanding layout that requires plenty of imagination and the kind of shot-making skills for which Seve was famous. With holes that regularly plunge and soar across a forested landscape, Pont Royal is what they call a ‘thinking man’s course’.

Pont Royal 7th

A classic example of the challenge on offer comes at the 462·yard 7th, a dramatic par four which sweeps down from the tee and then up to the left on a thrilling rollercoaster fairway; or the par-three 11th, a 200-yarder that requires an all-or-nothing shot from an elevated tee across a wooded gorge to a distant green perched on top of a rocky outcrop.

Closing out the back nine lies Pont Royal’s version of ‘Amen Corner’, with holes 15 to 18 all presenting different challenges, with the last hole providing a dramatic finish, climbing up and over a hill before the fairway sweeps left down to a sloping green next to a large lake.

With the often-present Mistral winds, some severe inclines, numerous large water hazards, and notoriously quick greens, Pont Royal is not for the faint-hearted, but it rewards players with stunning views, and with no two holes alike, you’ll be kept interested until you’ve holed the final putt.

The relaxed and stylish Provençal clubhouse offers an excellent choice
of home-cooked Provencal dishes, while a glass of chilled rosé, grown from
vines just miles from the clubhouse, always go down well after a round here.

For those looking to polish up their skills, the club also boasts a David Leadbetter Golf Academy, with practice facilities include a two-tier driving range, three greens for chipping and bunker practice and putting. There is also a six-hole academy course, which is ideal for beginners, as well as for better players looking to sharpen up their short game.

Although the club has no accommodation of its own, there are numerous villas and apartments available for rent nearby, while the five-star Moulin de Vernegues Hotel & Spa is situated just a lob wedge from the third tee and is naturally a popular destination for golfers.

A member of the Relais & Chateaux collection, it’s both traditional yet modern, boasting 100 well-appointed rooms spread out between a traditional old Provençal building and a more modern extension.

Many rooms feature private patios looking out over the golf course, while a fine dining restaurant,a fabulous I’Occitane spa, and a large outdoor swimming pool, add to its many attractions.

Visitor Green fee: €134 (April-Oct)
Golf Pass Fee: Low season : 75 € High season (mid March- mid November) : 98 €


Located just 30 minutes from Cannes and 45 minutes from Nice, Terre Blanche Resort is home to a five-star hotel and spa and two 18-hole championship courses spread over 750 acres of stunning Provençal countryside.

Once owned by Sean Connery, the resort still enjoys a strong celebrity connection given its proximity to Monaco and there’s every chance that you might bump into a film star or two, while former F1 drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard are often to be found revving up their golf games here.

The 11th hole at Terre Blanche

The resort also been a popular stop for tour professionals, having hosted the European Senior Tour and the Ladies European Tour in recent years, with the two world-class courses – Le Château and Le Riou – both designed by Dave Thomas and designed to test every element of your game.

Le Château stretches out to a whopping 7,235 yards off the back tees and is renowned for its large, undulating greens and sculptured tree-lined fairways. Elevated tees on many holes add to the drama, as do two large lakes, which although man-made, look entirely natural. At 6,400 yards, the accompanying Riou course is shorter, but

no less challenging, although it is only open for members and residents to enjoy its numerous tricky doglegs and splendid views. Those looking to improve their golf should take time out to make use of the Albatros Golf Performance Centre, the only European Tour Performance Institute certified in Europe, which offers the latest biomechanical technology and provides personalised programmes based on kinetic analysis of the body and a precise assessment of a player’s balance to enable them to shoot lower scores.

Away from the impressive golf facilities, the resort offers five-star accommodation in a range of 115 villa-style suites and private villas, while guests can enjoy a host of luxurious experiences, including Michelin-starred dining at restaurant Le Faventia, the award-winning spa and an infinity swimming pool offering panoramic views over the surrounding landscape. There is a myriad of other activities  on offer within and around the resort, including horse riding, mountain biking, tutored wine tastings, cooking lessons, pottery, hiking and visits to local medieval villages.
Visitor Green Fee: €180 (Le Châteaux Course), including buggy with GPS (peak season) and unlimited practice balls.

Golf Pass rate:

Low season : 140 €

High season : 190 €


Located just 15 minutes from the bustling resort of Cannes and the picture-perfect Cote d’Azur, Royal Mougins is ranked inside France’s top five courses, and after playing Robert Von Hagge’s superb design, you won’t find it hard to see why.

Shoe-horned into the tiny estate, between hundreds of luxury properties, the course occupies a secluded valley, rising and falling at often alarming rates, including the par-three 4th, which plummets to a green some 120-feet below the tee.

Royal Mougins

With five tees on each hole, the course can play as hard or as less hard as you like, but with eight lakes to contend with, vast bunkers, and pockets of trees, only the most accurate shots will avoid heavy punishment on this classic risk/reward layout.

Accommodation is offered in 29 spacious suites behind the clubhouse, each of which features a kitchenette and a private balcony or terrace, and although there is a lovely restaurant, superb spa, and excellent service, Royal Mougins is best described as a golf club with rooms, rather than a full-on resort hotel, and is all the more charming for it.
Visitor Green Fee:

Low season : 130 €

High season : 170 €

More information :


Located in the heart of Provence, a short drive from Avignon, Domaine de Manville is the idyllic setting for a delightful 18-hole course that has been carved out of the natural terrain.

The course is part of a family-owned luxury resort that opened two years ago, which features a country hotel that offers 30 rooms and suites, a fine dining restaurant, spa, two swimming pools, and nine private villas.

Designed by French architect Thierry Sprecher, the course winds its way through olive groves, vineyards, streams and rocky terrain that are typical of the region, and features unusual angular tees and greens designed to resemble Provençal fields.

In a break from tradition, the condition of the fairways is governed by the seasons, so don’t expect to finely-tended carpets during the height of summer, as the greenkeepers let nature take its course – although the tees and greens, as you’d expect, are kept short.

Insist on the eco-responsible approach and the first French golf course to be awarded the Ecocert Label.

After a round, guests can relax in the exquisite spa, which features treatments involving locally sourced pine, olive oil, verbena, jasmine and honey, while food lovers will delight in the fresh Provençal produce served up in talented chef Steve Deconinck’s courtyard restaurant, l’Aupiho.

Visitor Green Fee:

Low season : 79 €

High season : 103 €

More information :


Located just half-an-hour from Saint Tropez, this friendly and relaxed club boasts a wonderful 18-hole woodland/parkland course that offer fabulous views of the Provençale countryside on one side and the Côte d’Azur and the sparkling waters of Mediterranean on the other. Designed by Donald Harradine, and first opened just over 30 years ago, the course is a demanding walk, with

its undulating fairways weaving in and out of the oak forests of the Var, with the front nine featuring elevated tees, steep gullies and water hazards, while the back nine drops down towards the village of Sainte-Maxime where a plateau provides magnificent panoramic views of the Maures and Esterel massifs, before climbing up again to the clubhouse and the on-site Amarante Golf Plaza Hotel.

Visitor Green Fee

Low season : 71 €

High season : 80 €

More information :


Golf de St Donnat

Located close to Cannes and Nice, St Donat offer a fun, varied and very playable course that represents ideal holiday golf. Not too long – at just over 6,000 metres, the par-71 parkland layout was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and boasts bags of charm. Hilly in places, especially over the front nine, and with a river coming into play on six holes, highlights include the par-3 10th, which plays over water with a church providing a stunning backdrop, while the par-5 15th is another stunner, with the elevated tee dropping down to the fairway below before rising back up to a raised green.
Visitor Green Fee:

Green fee : 98 €

More information :

Saint Endréol

Saint Endreol

Set in dense woodland in the heart of Provence, around 10 miles inland from Cannes and St Tropez, Saint-Endreol Golf & Spa Resort boasts one of the region’s top tracks, with its tree-lined fairways occupying a wonderful spot north of the Rocher de Roqubrune mountain and meandering around the River Endre. It’s quite hilly in places, with significant changes in elevation on asome holes, most notably the par-3 13th which plummets dramatically downhill to a peninsula green. The course, which is always presented in excellent condition, concludes with a strong run of par fours, so make sure you get your scoring in early and try and hold on.

Visitor Green Fee:

Green fee : 85 €

More information :

Golf du Luberon

Offering the feel of a Scottish Highlands course but with much better weather, Luberon is a delightful family-run club with a welcoming atmosphere and an excellent golf course. Like many in the area, it is hilly in places, especially on the back nine, so a buggy is advised for all but the fittest.

Visitor Green Fee:

Low season : 60 €

High season : 72 €

More information :



For golfers looking to play a variety of different courses in the region, the Provence Côte d’Azur Golf Pass is the only way to go. It allows you to enjoy savings of up to 20% on green fees, depending on the venue and the season, in more than 20 golf courses in the region.

The Golf Pass enables you to select two, three or four 18- or 9-hole layouts or to create your own pass to focus on the courses you most want to play. The website gives details of all the clubs taking part in the scheme and from there you can book tee times in advance to suit your itinerary and guarantee you get to play when you want at a price that
is well below the walk-on green fee. Once you’ve booked, you’ll receive a voucher via email to hand over to the club on arrival.

You’ll find the full list of Golf Pass courses at, but they include some of Europe’s most highly rated venues, including Pont Royal, Terre Blanche, Domaine de Manville, Golf Grand Avignon, Royal Mougins and more.

For more details, visit


From Roman amphitheatres to vast gorges, from sandy beaches to hilltop towns, and from leafy vineyards to gourmet restaurants, there’s plenty to occupy body and soul in between rounds of golf in Provence and the Cote d’Azur


Gorges du Verdon

One of the largest canyons in Europe, the Verdon Gorge was carved by the Verdon River, which flows for 15 miles and empties into the man-made lake Lac de Sainte-Croix. The limestone cliffs range in height throughout the canyon but soar, at times, to over 700 metres, offering spectacular views from the clifftops to the shimmering turquoise waters of the river below. Activities in and around the gorge including hiking, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing, while true adrnalin junkies will be tempted by bungee jumping and whitewater rafting. Click here for more information


Orange’s monumental, UNESCO-protected theatre is unquestionably one of France’s most impressive Roman sights. It’s one of only three intact Roman theatres left in the world and its sheer size is awe-inspiring: designed to seat 10,000 spectators, its stage wall reaches 37m high, 103m wide and 1.8m thick. Little wonder that Louis XIV called it ‘the finest wall in my kingdom’. In its heyday the theatre would truly have been a sight to behold – covered in statues and carvings, and richly decorated in mosaics and marble slabs. Experiments have shown the wall was specially designed to focus and project sound. The site is currently undergoing renovation to protect it from the ravages of time, which means some part will be undergoing repair until 2024, but the theatre remains completely open to visitors, and still hosts its annual opera festival, Chorégies d’Orange. Click here for more information


Inscribed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1995, the Palais des Papes is largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe. served as the seat of papal power and the Roman Catholic church between 1309 and 1377 and hosted the inauguration of six popes. Ringed by 3m-thick walls, its cavernous halls, chapels and antechambers are largely bare today – but visitors can still see how they would
have looked thanks to virtual-reality representations that form part of a tour. Highlights include 14th-century chapel frescos by Matteo Giovannetti, and the Chambre du Cerf with its medieval hunting scenes. The palace stages numerous special events during the Festival d’Avignon, including ‘Son et Lumiere’ shows from mid-August to September. Click here for more information


France’s leading region for culture in terms of number and variety of museums, Provence and the Côte d’Azur has seduced artists since the 19th century. Even today, some of the biggest names on the contemporary scene have set up home and created foundations here. With over 60 major collections and art venues to visit, the region is an art-lovers heaven, with landscape paintings, sculpture, photography and design: you’ll find every imaginable artistic discipline on display from Arles to Menton. Click here for more information


Although renowned the world over for its light and perfumed rosé, Provence and the Cote d’Azur spans several very different winemaking regions. In addition to the beloved pink stuff, the area also produces some exciting red and white wines, with the southern stretches of the Rhone Valley also being home to appelations such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. Whereas by the coastline, bold and characterful red wine of Bandol stand alongside the fruitful and mineral white wine of Cassis.
From the gates of Nice to the Camargue region, the Provence wine route takes you from the seaside to mountains and scenic villages perched up high. It combines 430 vineyards and cooperative wine cellars, all of which are committed to quality. Virtually all vineyard owners, some that cultivate only a few hectares, will offer pre-booked tours, with many of them including lunch with a tutored tasting as part of the package, while some of the larger estates also offer B&B accommodation. For further information on the wines in the region click here


While wine is on most people’s mind when they think of Provence, the region is also home to some of France’s finest restaurants, with the Michelin Guide’s inspectors having dished out many of its highest accolades to chefs with establishments in the area. These include L’Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence, where head chef Jean-André Charial is cooking up a storm with his modern take on the rich flavours of classic French cuisine; while over in Moustiers Ste-Marie, La Bastide de Moustiers, which was founded by chef supremo Alain Ducasse, diners can gorge themselves on playful amuse bouche, sauce-heavy main courses and indulgent desserts, with much of the produce grown from the restaurant’s own kitchen garden. For those that over-indulge, there are rooms to stay in following a blow-out meal. Click here for more information


Over half of the prestigious black truffles harvested in France come from the South-East, mainly the Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and especially Vaucluse, which is home to the country’s two largest professional truffle markets in Carpentras and Richerenches.

Fresh truffles are widely available to buy in town markers from December to March, but don’t confuse black winter truffles with white summer truffles, as the former commands ten times the price. Click here for more information




Marseille Velodrome Stadium will host some of the rugby world cup 2023 matches

While all eyes will be on Paris for the Olympic Games in 2024, those interested in rugby will be focusing their attentions on Provence and the Côte d’Azur for next year’s 2023 Rugby World Cup. The region is hosting ten of the scheduled matches during September and October, including six in Marseille and four in Nice, with highlights including England taking on Argentina in a pool match in Marseille on Sept 9, and South Africa playing against Scotland in Marseille on Sept 10. England will be in action against Japan in Nice on Sept 17, while Wales will also play in Nice on Sept 16. The French team will be playing in Marseille against a pool qualifier on Sept 21. Other matches are being held in Bordeaux, Lille, Nantes, Toulouse and venues around Paris, with the final taking place at Stade de France in Paris on October 28. The inventor of modern rugby, Englishman William Webb Ellis, who died 150 years ago in 1872, is buried in Menton, a few miles up the coast from Nice, near the border with Italy. For details on tickets, visit




With a history dating back to 1873, the Nice Carnival is one of the biggest in France with the two-week event attracting over a million visitors. A special theme is chosen each year, with local artists creating 18 floats and other figurines in traditional papier- mâché, sometimes depicting animals or flowers, which parade the streets in a series of colourful parades which take place day and night.



The Festival de Pâques in Aix-en-Provence has quickly established itself as one the classical music scene’s most popular festivals, attracting leading orchestras, renowned virtuosos, famous conductors and composers from all over the world. With someof the town’s most famous venues, including the imposing Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, providing a backdrop to concerts and recitals, its presents a feast for all the senses. For more details, visit


FLY: British Airways operates regular services to Nice and Marseille. Easyjet flies to Nice, Toulon and Marseille and Ryanair from several cities in the UK to Marseille.

DRIVE: The south of France is a 10- hour drive from the Eurotunnel or ferry ports, taking the motorway all the way via Reims, Dijon, Beaune and Lyon.
For further information on holiday itineraries, hotels, things to do and places to see in the Provence and the Côte d’Azur region,

For further information visit