Grimaud is a classic village perché, a few kilometres inland and magnificently positioned for views out to sea. These days the view is a peaceful panorama of the Maures hills, the Golfe de St Tropez and the deep blue expanse of the Mediterranean, but when Grimaud was built, the importance of the extensive view was to watch out for invasion by sea. The village is named after the Grimaldi family, still in power in Monaco, and was bequeathed to a Genoese nobleman, Gibelin de Grimaldi, by William the Good of Provence, in reward for his support in driving the Saracens from Provence in the 10th century.
The chateau which dramatically dominates the heights of the town dates from the 11th century and originally had three enclosures and four enormous towers. Much of it was destroyed during the 17th century wars of religion and later after the Revolution. But impressive ruins of the original towers remain, along with remnants of the stone windows giving a very good idea of the medieval defensive building. The chateau is owned by descendants of the Castellane family who owned it before the Revolution and it is now protected as a Monument Historique. There are live performances there during the summer.
The village which clusters round the castle is a delight and rewards meandering round its steep, winding streets, decorated everywhere with flowers and fountains. Shady squares provide a cool retreat from the sun in summer, and in the quieter seasons of spring and autumn, the heights of the village breathe peace and fresh air. Many of the buildings house craftsmen and artisans whose wares enliven the medieval streets.
The rue des Templiers is the oldest street in town, noted for its fine arcades, and the carving of stone framed doors and windows. The street leads to the 11th century Eglise St Michel which is a superb example of Provencal Romanesque, constructed in the form of a cross. Inside is a superb marble font dating from as early as the 7th or 8th century. Three kilometres in the direction of Port Grimaud is the little chapel of Notre Dame de la Queste, built by monks from Marseille in the 11th century - there are the relics here of Saint Lambert and a very grand Baroque altarpiece. There is still an annual pilgrimage to the chapel held every August 16th.
For the most attractive Pottery and Terra Cotta tiles - visit Poterie de 3 Terres
Galerie du Cygne St Tropez opened in June 2001 and is open for the Summer months of June to September. Opening hours are 10h00 to 12h00 and again 17h00 to 20h00.
Every Thursday - Market.
Every Monday, Thursday Friday and Sunday - Marché local Port Grimaud
1st Sunday in the month - Brocante
Every Sunday - Puces (flea market)
Every June - Fete du moulin (windmill festival)
Copyright © 2011 Rosemary Bailey
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