Cannes and the French Riviera offer an exceptional density of golf courses even if the hectares are rare. The sea, the sun, a certain quality of life, so many assets appreciated by golfers. From the Riviera Barbossi to Saint-Endréol, via the Tour d’Opio, the Golfy network takes the prize on the Croisette…
For more than thirty years, in Mandelieu, the Riviera Golf de Barbossi, designed by Robert Trent Jones, has benefited from an exceptional, hilly setting, set back from the beaches, with a view of the relief of the Esterel. The architect has adapted his layout to the relief, between the palm trees, the cork oaks, the umbrella pines and the Riou de l’Argentière, which winds its way through the fairways. Elegant, the 18th fairway leads back to the club-house where it is pleasant to have lunch on the terrace of the Arbre jaune, which is sunny more than 300 days a year.
At the Saint-Endréol Golf Club, the fairways wind at the foot of the Roquebrune rock, on this sun-drenched Provencal land. Between the umbrella pines, cypresses, cork oaks and a few clumps of arbutus, Michel Gayon’s layout follows the relief. The highlight of the game is the 13th, a par 3 plunging towards an island green set on the bed of the Endre, a tributary of the Argens. One of the most photographed holes in France! More reasonable, less emotional, the end of the course goes up to a club-house where the view of the Esterel massif and the table are enchanting.
In the heart of the Club Med domain, the Golf de la Tour d’Opio, designed by Cabell Robinson, is short and fun. It adapts to the relief of the Maritime Alps between olive trees, pine trees and rocky terrain. With six par 3s and three par 4s, there are few cards in the par where the design gives pride of place to the short game. What to try to plant the flags, by betting on the birdies at the aperitif!
Where to stay?
A charming hotel, the Ermitage de l’Oasis**** faces the Bay of Cannes and the Lérins Islands. This Provençal bastide with its 36 rooms and suites is an invitation to relax, to indulge and to feel good. The Spa de L’Oasis offers the art of care through the benefits of Sothys know-how, the latest LPG technologies or the virtues of balneotherapy and the infrared sauna: a wellness interlude to discover! The Bistrot de l’Oasis, the hotel’s restaurant, and the Boutique de l’Oasis showcase the estate’s products, wines, olive oils and honeys – the bees gather the flowers of the maquis -, while the Logis d’Azur, in the Ermitage gardens, unveils collections of works of art throughout the year.
Between Provence and the Côte d’Azur, the Domaines de Saint-Endréol are spread over more than 150 hectares around the eponymous golf course. With 50 rooms and a welcome rental residence for families, a spa, a fitness room, swimming pools, tennis courts, not forgetting Marc Wynen’s excellent table, everything is in place for a pleasant and comfortable stay. Between the rock of Roquebrune and the Estérel massif, the scents of Provence also help you to escape by smell.
Saint Tropez, the Gorges du Verdon
A charming little port on the Côte d’Azur, Saint-Tropez saw its fame explode with the arrival of the artists of the New Wave in the 1950s. Since then, the craze for this Provencal village has never stopped. If Brigitte Bardot remains the muse of these shady and tortuous lanes, from the Citadel to the Place des Lices, the great fortunes of the world often make headlines there between nabobs and nymphettes…
The yachts moored in front of Sénéquier, the famous café with the red banner, are an external sign of wealth! Saint-Tropez is a city of festivals par excellence, and finds its quietness and its gentle way of life from autumn to spring, before experiencing new and more delirious agapes in the fine weather…
Much quieter, the Verdon gorges are a narrow valley 25 km long, nearly 700 metres high in places, offering exceptional views from its upper ledge, which has become a must for tourists in search of strong emotions. Avoiding the summer rush, the walk, bike ride or canoe ride in the valley floor is impressive in front of this mineral immensity forged since the Tertiary era.
Climbing enthusiasts will also find their happiness here along the steep limestone walls. Other extreme sports such as paragliding, rafting, canyoning, bungee jumping from the Chaulière bridge and base jumping have found their feet in this magical setting. In spring, fly fishermen tease the trout in the silence disturbed by the flight of the birds of prey that watch over this thousand-year-old valley.
Originally from Liguria, pissaladière has become a Provencal speciality by extension. Even if the recipe evolves according to the villages, the bases remain the same from Genoa to the Var. A bread dough, onions fried in olive oil, anchovies, black olives, cooked in the oven… Simple, effective and inexpensive! Some people replace the anchovies with sardine fillets or poutine – a maceration of fish fry, pissala in Nice. This onion tart is part of all the festivities and celebrations throughout Provence.
In the 1950s, a Polish pastry chef who had emigrated to Provence settled with his family in the village of Saint-Tropez. In 1955, during the filming of Et Dieu… créa la femme, his sugar brioche filled with a pastry cream – a recipe from his grandmother – delighted the entire film crew, headed by Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot. This was all it took for the Tropézienne to be born, an end-of-meal sweet that would seduce the whole world. Made in Saint-Tropez !
In 1950, having survived the Holocaust, Alec and Francine Weisweiller bought a villa on Cap Ferrat. Very quickly, the house became a meeting place for artists, patrons of the arts, and “people”. The atmosphere was carefree and parties were frequent. Madeleine Castaing, a friend of the couple, was responsible for the decoration. In Paris, Francine met Jean Cocteau who was directing Les Enfants Terribles. She invites him for holidays on the Côte d’Azur, to the Villa Santo Sospir. The walls of the living room were white and sports activities were not his cup of tea, so he suggested that she decorate them.
Very quickly, the whole house was transformed by the artist’s pencil strokes. “It was not necessary to dress the walls, just draw on their skin, which is why I treated these frescoes like tattoos, with few colours…”. Cocteau had taken advice from Henri Matisse before embarking on the project. Invited as a neighbour from Mougins, Pablo Picasso supported Cocteau in this mural work, simply painting the doors. Now listed and owned by a rich Russian family, the house has been saved and can be visited by appointment.
A man of the sun, Pablo Picasso adopted the Côte d’Azur at the end of his life. In 1961, leaving his castle in Vauvenargues, facing the Sainte-Victoire mountain, he settled in Mougins where he had just bought the Notre-Dame-de-Vie farmhouse, in the heart of the garrigue. He made it his studio and created there until his death. He paints, sculpts, models the earth, everything is subject to his talent, he does not care about the future, about the aftermath. He is bulimic with work. Jacqueline, his young wife, watched over him until his last breath. On April 8, 1973, in the late morning, the “Sun of God” as she called him, passed away… He leaves behind an immense work, a colossal fortune, an imperishable memory!
In 1981, following a night-time challenge between two skippers, the Nioulargue was born in the Bay of Saint-Tropez. In 1999, the event, which had grown in size and brought together several hundred boats at the end of September and beginning of October, became the Voiles de Saint-Tropez.
The craze has never left this meeting of sailors and billionaires who compete on the water before enjoying themselves at the table where water is not a priority… On the water, old riggings, mahogany hulls sometimes a hundred years old with gleaming fittings, rub shoulders with ultra-modern vessels made of composite material, full of technology, but the spirit remains the same as on the first day, fair play on the water, the atmosphere on land. See you from Friday 29th September to Sunday 8th October 2023 for the 25th Voiles de Saint-Tropez.