In a nutshell
Versailles is a town steeped in history and is without doubt one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. However, not so much from a golf perspective, but more due to the presence of the Palace of Versailles, a majestic Château which was home to the French Royal Family for over a century between 1682 and 1789.
It seems apt then, that only 10 minutes’ drive from this regal suburb, you can find the home of the French Federation of Golf, located at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue, Le Golf National.
The opportunity for this town to keep growing in popularity as a golf destination is substantial. There are numerous quality golf products within 30 minutes’ drive as well as a wealth of restaurants and bars to enjoy in the town centre.
Versailles is located to the south-west of Paris, around a 30 minute drive into the heart of Paris and just 15 minutes from the Périphérique motorway (Paris’ equivalent of the M25).
If you are driving from Calais, it will take between 3 and 3 and a-half-hours to get there. If you’re getting the ferry to Caen, count around 2 hours 30 minutes.
Flying to Paris would be just as convenient and you can fly to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, just north of Paris, or Paris-Orly, just in the southern Parisian outskirts. Beauvais airport is just over an hour north of Paris but would be another cheap alternative. I would definitely recommend hiring a car as French taxis are not cheap
Golf courses near Versailles
The course with the most prominent reputation close to Versailles, just 10 minutes’ drive, is without doubt Le Golf National and the Albatros course, host to the 2018 Ryder Cup.
In fact within a 30 minute drive, there is such a myriad of courses, you are spoilt for choice. Some of these include private courses like the Harry Colt designed Golf de Saint-Cloud and Golf de Saint-Germain, as well as strictly private ones such as Golf de St-Nom-la-Bretèche and Golf de Joyenval. An hour away you have Golf de Fontainebleau.
Rest assured though, there are many other fantastic and welcoming public courses such as Golf des Yvelines, Golf de Feucherolles and Golf de Rochefort.
Restaurants in Versailles
There are so many choices in Versailles, where do you start! One of the main hubs is the marketplace where Rue du Maréchal Foch crosses Rue de la Paroisse. The square is surrounded by small restaurants and bistros and is a great place to begin the evening.
Within the square, there is a good number of bistros serving traditional French cuisine and a great Chinese restaurant.
Closer to the Château, L’Epicure is a superb restaurant serving authentic French cuisine with a delightful ambiance. Classic dishes include the Lobster medallion, grilled veal or the rib of beef….sublime. On Rue de Satory is a wonderful Crêperie called Le Blé Noir serving a number of timeless crepe combinations.
Bars in Versailles
There are a number of bars in and around Versailles, especially the typical French tabacs of which there are a number.
But if you are looking for a few places with a bit more character or more pub ambiance, try the O’Paris Pub on Rue Colbert. A small pub but at least you know what you’re getting with an Irish Pub and it’s open late with a Happy Hour between 16.00-20.00.
Le Montbauron on Rue Jouvencel is another pub which serves great pub food, cheap beer and with an impressive 24 billiard tables (of which 11 are pool tables) on the second floor.
Hotels in Versailles
Being such a popular tourist destination, there are copious hotels to choose from in Versailles. If you are looking for luxury, go no further than the Trianon Palace Versailles, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. 5 minutes’ walk from the main hub of the town, this is a stunning hotel exuding complete luxury and opulence.
The Hotel Pullman Versailles Chateau is a contemporary 4* hotel, right in the heart of the town and is a popular option. If you happen to be on a budget, but are still looking for a central option, try the Hotel du Cheval Rouge, a 2* hotel just off the lively market-square. Really good value and with a private car-park, no wonder this is one of the most highly rated hotels on Trip Advisor.
Lastly for those wanting to be on the course, there is a hotel onsite at the Golf National, the Novotel Saint-Quentin Golf National. It is a 3* and although slightly devoid of character, is has your typical Novotel character with a decent restaurant and outdoor pool.
Golf Holidays in Versailles
This is not the destination for your group of ‘golf lads’. There are many other places far more suited for unpretentious golf, good bars and restaurants and decent value, such as Le Touquet in northern France and even Deauville & Trouville in Normandy.
A golf trip to Versailles is for your discerning golfer. One who is willing to pay good money to play quality but more expensive golf courses. Many of the private courses mentioned above will accept visitors during the week, and many are relatively good value when compared with courses of a similar ilk elsewhere.
If you’re one of these who is looking to tick off Top 100 golf courses, Versailles would be a great base, just be prepared to be flexible.