It was definitely a refreshing change from the usual panic often encountered when rushing to airports desperately trying to arrive in time before check-in closes and then having to stand in endless queues to arrive at designated gates.  By contrast travelling overnight on Brittany Ferries to France from Portsmouth to Caen was a doodle, and a far more relaxing mode of transport. BMW cars had kindly arranged for our group to drive to France in four of their top of the range cars, and I enjoyed more than anything being driven around the pretty French countryside in early. Boarding time was around 10 pm and after a delicious pup supper, was ready for bed after parking cars on board the ferry, and immediately headed for my small but compact cabin which also included tiny en suite shower/bathroom.

Surprisingly the quiet throbbing engines soon lulled me to sleep and in no time was woken up by ‘easy listening’ music emanating from the cabin’s radio which it seems automatically turns on in all cabins an hour before disembarkation. After a hearty English breakfast on board, we climbed into our assigned cars and in less than fifteen minutes were happily driving towards our first golf destination, Le Golf Parc de Nantilly ( for our 11 am tee time arriving two hours later. This stunningly beautiful course is set in 200 acres and boasts wide open fairways, surrounded by tall trees and some well placed bunkers, green are fast and undulating. Fortunately we had perfect golfing weather lots of sunshine and little wind.  After 18 holes we briefly sat outside the clubhouse for a refreshing beer before setting off in the direction of Versailles (just outside Paris), which took about half an hour, and were soon checking into the delightful Hotel le Versailles where we stayed for the next couple of nights, literally a few minutes walk from the famous imposing Palace, (a perfect place for anyone coming to watch the 2018 Ryder Cup). Dinner was eaten locally in one of the many rustic restaurants on nearby car free streets where diners mostly eat al fresco outside on pavements, and brought back fond memories of days spent in Paris’s Left Bank as a student.

The next day we drove for about an hour to Golf de Rochfort, another challenging but interesting course. The imposing clubhouse is a former château and sits on top of a hill overlooking the course below with its tree-lined fairways and undulating but fast greens. Designer Fred Hawtree has created a number of interesting holes most with stunning views that stretch to the nearby Chevreuse Valley and surrounding countryside, I found this course a delight to play. The 18th is an interesting uphill hole where weary golfer can be transported to the clubhouse on a contraption that looks more like a ski lift up the hill, .

april4After checking out of Hotel the next day, we drove for a about an hour to the trip’s ‘piece de resistance’,  Le Golf National where the next Ryder Cup is to be held in 2018 Ryder. Arrangements had been made for times on the Albatros course, the actual course to be used for the Ryder Cup which is quite difficult and quirky and has lots of interesting water hazards.

april2This par 72 course combines the traditional feel of a links course with expansive features of a modern stadium course. Slick greens, vast undulating fairways, water hazards and link-style bunkers, and definitely requires golfers to use every club in their bag. The final four holes are the course’s signature holes and mostly surrounded by water which is why the course is regarded as one of Europe’s most challenging.

After a quick lunch it was back in the cars driving towards Caen in time for our overnight ferry back to Portsmouth but not before stopping at the famous Table d’Hotes restaurant in Caen for a delicious gourmet dinner. Another perfect crossing followed and we were soon back in Portsmouth around 7 the next morning after what I can only describe as ‘a very interesting and varied press trip.

Thank you Brittany Ferries!






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