Terre Blanche: Tee off in the rolling hills of Southern France
As the plane drifted over the coastline of the French Riviera and came into land in Nice, I had no doubts about why the area is so adored by the rich and stylish.
Below me was an Instagram-worthy scene featuring terracotta houses clinging to the hillsides, gentle waves breaking against the pure white beaches, and hundreds of tiny yachts bobbing their way over the brilliant blue sea.
I had taken a dozen photographs before we’d even landed.
It didn’t seem right to feel so glamorous while travelling on a bargain EasyJet flight out of Liverpool. It felt like I’d stepped straight into an episode of Made in Chelsea: South Of France.
Just a 45-minute drive from Nice airport lies the five-star resort of Terre Blanche. The route here takes you away from the flash restaurants and bars that line the glittering coast, and up into the rolling hills and lush countryside of the Provence region.
Here it feels peaceful, unspoilt, and far removed from the lines of packed sun beds in Cannes, which is also just a half-hour drive away.
The 115 villas and suites each come with a private courtyard and are arranged to look like a traditional French village. Built into the side of the hill, the red clay buildings wind up from the clubhouse to the restaurants and reception area.
The awe-inspiring infinity pool is one of the highlights and the obvious place to be during the region’s long hot summers. It’s certainly difficult to imagine a more spell-binding backdrop for your post-round swim.
Blending seamlessly into the surrounding countryside and with fine works of art carefully positioned throughout the grounds, suites and restaurants, you get the sense that every inch of the 750-acre resort has been immaculately planned.
While this is luxury at its finest, it somehow manages to feel quaint and full of countryside charm. The clear mountain air and beautiful views of the surrounding hills and ancient villages, will soon have you feeling like you never want to leave this sacred oasis.
While the area is renowned for skiing, hiking and wine tours, visitors also flock here for the superb golf courses.
The Riou and Chateau courses are 18-hole championship tracks designed by Dave Thomas. Both are challenging but rewarding rounds. Taking in lakes, waterfalls, ravines and forests, you’ll need to take care not to disturb any of the rare black swans that have made their home here.
The Riou is host to the annual Terre Blanche Ladies Open, a key event on the Ladies European Tour Access Series.
It’s fair to say that the Chateau is the longer and more demanding of the two, so you might want to visit the swish training centre before attempting to tackle it.
The certified European Tour Performance Institute is home to a Leadbetter Academy, Biomecaswing Centre and a two-tiered driving range.
You also won’t have to leave the resort to find delicious, high-quality French cuisine.
Guests can start their day with an indulgent breakfast buffet. With an enormous spread of freshly baked pastries, local cheeses, meats, fruits and cooked options, it can be difficult to know where to start.
A morning round can be finished off with a light lunch inside the bright and welcoming clubhouse, while for a lavish evening meal, you will struggle to find a better fine-dining experience than the elegant Michelin-starred Faventia restaurant.
A visit to the luxury spa is another must do.
As you enter through the lavender-filled gardens and into the stylish lobby, you’ll find yourself instantly absorbed into a world of serenity and calm.
The indoor pool leads out to the heated vitality pool and peaceful decking area: the ideal spot for losing yourself in a good book and soaking in some welcome rays of vitamin C.
Offering treatments such as massages, facials, body wraps and anti-cellulite bodyscrubs, as well as access to the modern and fully-equipt fitness suite, you can easily spend hours and hours inside this tranquil complex.
Although there’s plenty to do within the boundaries of Terre Blanche, you can’t leave the area without exploring the surrounding medieval villages. Wander the local markets and narrow streets of the picturesque settlements of Fayence, Tourrettes and Callian, before stopping by one of the vineyards to sample a taste of the region’s world-renowned wine.
Flights to Nice from the UK take around two hours.
For more information visit: www.terre-blanche.com