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Port Grimaud is part of the commune of Grimaud in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Located on the French Riviera, it is seven kilometres west of Saint Tropez and seven kilometres south east of Sainte Maxime. Port Grimaud began to rise out of the sand dunes around the marshes of the river Giscle on the north shore of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez in 1966. This extraordinary architectural experiment was the idea of François Spoerry who envisioned a town built in the manner of Venice with channels of water and traditional French fisherman’s houses, each with a personal boat mooring space at the end of the garden. Port Grimaud today is a charming village with an extended development history encompassing attractive Provençal-style houses on a network of canals. The houses are designed to be individually different, painted with soft pastel colours of ochre, pink and turquoise and feature shutters with wrought iron balconies with roofs of terracotta Roman tiles. Known as the ‘Venice of Provence’ and arranged into four little islands, the colourful houses are linked by bridges over the waterways and surrounded by gardens. Despite initial controversy concerning the concept of a marine village constructed with ‘faux Provencal’ architecture, after several decades the buildings have aged well and the result has been very successful.
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The medieval village of Grimaud has a long history beginning with the Gallo-Roman age. In the 11th century, due to its strategic vantage point on a steep summit dominating the Gulf of Saint Tropez, the first settlement included a fortified castle which controlled access from the North and from the Maures mountains. Until the end of the 19th century, the Castle of Grimaud was the command post overlooking the Gulf of Grimaud.
The development of the area around the Gulf began in the 1960s and today the marina of Port Grimaud is one of the most frequently visited resorts in France. Further development extending the town further east was completed in the 1970s and the third stage was finished in the 1990s. There are now over 2,000 residences and Port Grimaud is a highly desirable destination with over a million visitors a year.
Port Grimaud is a great attraction for anyone interested in boats and offers a range of water sports. The town is mainly traffic free and the properties come with their own berth. With the total length of the quays at 12km, yachts of every description can be safely moored here and transport for visitors around the harbour is by waterbus (coche d’eau).
There is a beautiful sandy beach within easy walking distance of the residences and water skiing, sailing, snorkelling and scuba-diving are all available as an alternative to sunbathing. Other outdoor pursuits in the vicinity include golf, tennis and horse-riding. Port Grimaud is also a great place from which to explore the unspoilt inland area of Provence including the Massif des Maures, the local vineyards and several pretty hilltop villages.
Église St-Francois-d’Assise (the Church of St. Francis of Assisi) in the main Place d’Église is a modern version of the local Romanesque style of architecture with a simple interior, exposed wooden roof beams and stained glass windows designed by Victor Vasarely. The bell tower gives an excellent view of Port Grimaud, St. Tropez and the Maures hills beyond.
From Port Grimaud there is a regular boat service to St. Tropez which is certainly worth a trip to see the harbour, its ancient winding streets and alleyways along with its chic restaurants and pavement cafés.
A lively local market is held twice a week selling local produce and there are excellent shops in the town.
Accommodation & Restaurants
Accommodation at every level is available in Port Grimaud and nearby along the coast towards St. Tropez.
The Hotel Giraglia in Place Du 14 Juin is located in the marina. It has an outdoor swimming pool and the rooms have balconies with sea views. The restaurant serves regional delicacies and seafood in the dining room or on the terrace. Guests can also enjoy a relaxing cocktail in the Calypso bar.
Situated on Port Grimaud’s market square, Hôtel Du Soleil – Hôtel Le Suffren is only 200m from the beach in a great location and near the cafés and restaurants in town. The rooms are decorated in traditional Provencal style and with some rooms overlooking the port, it is a charming, relaxing place to stay.
There are several self-catering beach houses for rental, often with private terraces or gardens and excellent facilities. Mobil Home Port Grimaud features a private beach with bars and restaurants in a beautiful setting with on-site supermarkets and a bakery – everything for a family holiday.
By Air: Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is 88 kms from Port Grimaud on the autoroute and depending on traffic takes an hour and a half driving time. Cannes-Mandelieu airport is 62 kms and takes about an hours driving time.
By Train: the nearest railway station is the Gare de Fréjus, 30 Kms away.