The Best of the Best 2003: International Golf Resorts - Chateau des Vigiers Golf and Country Club

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Golf in France? Mais oui! In fact, the game has been expanding rapidly throughout the république in the last decade or two. Leading this surge is the Château des Vigiers Golf and Country Club, in Dordogne, on the border of the Bordeaux and Bergerac regions. The property features a formidable country house that was built by a royal judge in 1597 and originally called Le Petit Versailles. The property was converted into a hotel by a Swedish industrialist in 1993; shortly afterward, Englishman Donald Steel built the golf course, which skirts vineyards and plum orchards, and ducks into the deep woods before ending dramatically in the shadow of the château.

The château itself includes just 36 rooms and suites, and another dozen two-story suites are housed in a rustic outbuilding. The entire staff speaks English (most of the golf staff is from Great Britain or Sweden), and the high point of each day is the exquisite dinner enjoyed at the in-house gourmet restaurant, Les Fresques.

Château des Vigiers Golf and Country Club, +33.553.61.50.00, www.chateaudesvigiers.com

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