Golf and ‘Dolce’ Chantilly! – Meanderings through France
Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
Around Chantilly, in the Oise department, there are no less than eleven Golf Clubs. Chantilly can quite easily be reached from Paris in less than one hour by train or car, and Roissy Charles de Gaulle, the International Airport is at about 30 minutes by car. Worldwide known for its beautiful castle Chantilly is a lovely town north-east of Paris set in the heart of the huge Chantilly forest. Its bucolic landscapes mixing woods, ponds, orchards are the perfect place to build golf courses and the first ones were designed in the early 20th century creating a true “golf culture” in town. You can improve your swing in at least 4 Golf Clubs surrounding Chantilly and get the opportunity to discover the castle and its wonderful gardens and royal stables as well as Senlis a lovely middle age village.
The Dolce Chantilly is a 4 star hotel ideally located to get to any of these golf courses, the first one being its own 18-hole, one of the most beautiful course of the region welcoming all skilled levels golfers but demanding players will also discover a challenging game. Thanks to its sandy soil providing a flawless drainage it’s possible to play all year round on the 14 holes running alongside the woods and the 4 holes close to the hotel. The practice range is one of a kind since golfers have to throw their balls over and in a small lake where a special device collect them at night clean and ready for another day!
Take advantage of the recent depreciation of the euro to get a real bargain with the hotel’s packages. For example the “Dolce golf break” including one night in a double room with a view on the golf and the gardens, a tempting buffet breakfast, one green fee and free access to the fitness centre, to the inside and the outside swimming pools and to the sauna and hammam is available from 85 euro (about 62£).
If you would like to come with golfers friends and discover other golf courses in the area you can choose the “Golf pass group package” including two nights with buffet breakfast and dinners, a multipass with 3 green fees: one green fee for the Dolce Hotel course, plus one green fee for the Golf of Apremont and a third one for the Golf of Raray. Stretching on a 80 hectares land the Apremont golf course awaits beginners but can be formidable for confirmed players as well along its 6395m, 18-hole, Par 72. The “British” bar has a sunny terrace with a view on the final holes where you can enjoy the “Assiette du golfeur” while commenting your game with your friends. The third green fee will take you to the Raray castle built in the 17th century that has been used as the movie set for “Beauty and the Beast”, the iconic movie by Jean Cocteau. There are 3 golf courses: an 18-hole Par 72 with large fairways going through the forest, a 9-hole pitch and putt course and a 9-hole course meandering through a beautiful orchard. This package is available for 399 euro (292 £) from April till October 2015.
Golfer or not you might also enjoy the “Gourmet Escape” that includes one night in one of the lovely rooms, one cocktail, a three course menu and drinks, a buffet breakfast on the following morning and free access to the pools, sauna, hammam, (99 euro/73£). This is really a bargain knowing that a great chef, Dorian Wicart, is in charge. After working at the “Tour d’Argent” the famous Parisian gastronomic restaurant, at “La Marée” and “Charlot” two well known fish restaurants he won the National Trophy for cuisine and bakery in 2005 and the 1st prize for fish dishes in the Jean Delveyne Trophy in 2008. He makes a tasty cuisine and insists on using local organic produce as much as possible. Enjoying a meal at “La Veranda” set in a real stylish veranda watching golfers finishing their game is a tasty and relaxing experience.
If you don’t play golf and come to the hotel to accompany a golfer or with your family you will still have a lot to discover. The Chantilly castle is close by so don’t miss to discover this castle, house of the Duke of Aumale who was the son of Louis Philippe the last French king. He was said to be the greatest collector of the 19th century and Chantilly became the showcase for his impressive collections. The gardens alone are worth a visit with the French style garden created by André Le Notre who was the designer of the Versailles gardens for Louis XIV in the 17th century, the Anglo-Chinese garden and its lazy river, the English garden… On May the 15th, 16th and 17th 2015 the famous horticultural fare “Les Journées de Courson” that gather from 33 years now European nursery workers and amateur plant lovers will take place in the castle’s park. It is an inevitable event to share knowledge and tricks and to discover new plants.
Close to the castle the Great stables house the Museum of Horse. These stables are the largest ones in Europe and truly are a masterpiece of the 18th century architecture built for the Prince de Condé who passionately loved horses and wanted his horses to live in castle-like stables. There are equestrian shows every day in the riding arena and its 18th century décor.
It will take you only a few minutes by foot to get to the Chantilly racecourse from the Great Stables. This prestigious French racecourse was created in 1834 and is one of the greatest training-centre in Europe where the elite of the racing world meets. There are at least 3,000 horses training every day in Chantilly. Internationally famous races takes place here: the Prix du Jockey Club on Sunday 31st May seen as the French Derby since 1836, the Prix de Diane on the 14th June 2015 and many others…
Golf, gastronomy, culture, horses, flowers and plants… Make your choice!
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Text © Annick Dournes
Photos © Frederic de Poligny and courtesy of Dolce Hotels