Port Grimaud, Venice of the South of France

The tourist village Grimaud is a medieval town in the department Var on the French Riviera in southern France. It is situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between Saint Tropez and Sainte-Maxime and has a special port: Port Grimaud. Port Grimaud is very popular among tourists who all come crowds to visit this "Venice of the South of France" during their holidays.
The village is thought to be named after Gibelin de Grimaldi who received the land as a gift due to the help he provided with driving away the Saracens. The name Grimaud was first used in naming deeds related to the castle Castrum de Grimaldo in Grimaud, whose ruins are still visible.

The nature around Grimaud

Grimaud is situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Massif des Maures and is surrounded by beautiful natural surroundings. The Massif des Maures is a mountain range of about 60km long and 30km wide and lies between Hyères and Fréjus. The nature is rugged and is covered in mountain ridges and narrow valleys.
From the sea there are several paths to the higher Grimaud. There are hiking trails through oak and chestnut forests but also through vineyards and nature reserves. There is also a path between Grimaud and the lower part of Port Grimaud. If you would like to take it a bit easier, get on the tourist train that runs between Grimaud and Port Grimaud.

Medieval town of Grimaud in Provence

The history of Grimaud goes back to Gallo-Roman times. For centuries the village was the most important place in the area. The bay in the sea has long had the name "Gulf of Grimaud". Around the end of the 19th century the name was changed to "Gulf of St. Tropez".
In Grimaud the traces of the past can be found all around you. Many buildings have old architectural elements such as columns, capitals, statues, oculi or a Provencal woman leaning over the balcony on the Place du Marché. In the old town there are narrow alleys with beautiful houses. Important buildings are:

  • The ruins of the castle – The castle was built in the 11th century, some parts have been restored. The castle provides a beautiful view of the surroundings.
  • The church of Francis of Assisi
  • Église St. Michel from the 12th century
  • St. Rochus Chapel
  • Chapel Notre Dame de la Queste
  • Chapel of the Penitents
  • Pont des Fées - part of an ingenious system to supply the village with water.
  • Moulin St. Rochus – an old village mill in use again since 1990 

Visit the Festivals in Grimaud during your holidays

Grimaud is located in a very touristy region and celebrates all kinds of festivals and celebrations. These celebrations are held in all villages located along the coast during the summer months. Some festivals in Grimaud are the following:

  • The annual festival Grimaldines with street artists and music at the castle. The festival is in honour of the Grimaldi family, the monarchs of Monaco.
  • The Saint Michel festival that starts with a Provencal mass and ends with a garage sale.
  • The wool fair
  • The light festival
  • Grimaud's music evenings, held every Tuesday with free shows and concerts. These evenings last well into the night.

Port Grimaud, special port in France

Port Grimaud lies between Grimaud and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This port was built in 1960 and is called the Venice of the Côte d'Azur in France. Port Grimaud is very popular among tourists and there is always a cosy atmosphere to be found around the centre. It is a village built on  water and every house thus has its own jetty. The arcaded galleries with waterfront restaurants reminisce Venice.

Before 1960 this area was a swamp. In 1960 it was bought by the architect François Spoerry. He wanted a house on the water where he could moor his boat. It was from this principle that Port Grimaud came into being. It has become a village with little bridges and canals where land and water are interwoven and houses are built in Provencal style with Mediterranean influences. In 2002 it was marked as "heritage of the 20th century". There are over 2400 houses, over 2000 moored boat, 7km of canals and 12km of quays. This water village is largely car-free, only for residents and tenants the barrier opens. It is freely accessible, you can easily walk and explore the area. There are cafes, bars and restaurants with terraces located on the quays. Next to the church you can rent boats with which you can sail through the beautiful canals. From the water you can truly experience the beautiful wonder that is Port Grimaud.

Some striking places are the following:

  • Place du 14 Juin, this square is in the first phase of construction. The name comes from the date on which the building permit was obtained.
  • Place François Spoerry, named after the architect who developed Port Grimaud.
  • Fontaine Magistrale, the portrait of Spoerry.
  • Église Port Grimaud, you can climb the tower and from there enjoy the beautiful view.

Dress code in Port Grimaud

One of the striking features of Port Grimaud is the clothing regulations and other special rules that the village follows. At the beginning of Port Grimaud there is a sign with the rules you have to follow. If you do not want to follow these rules you are kindly requested to turn around.
You are expected to dress correctly, without a bare upper body, this applies to both women and men. The security services, the private police force in Port Grimaud, stand by the barriers and ensure the visitors are following the rules.
The clothing rules also apply on the terraces of the restaurants. If you enter the terrace without a shirt, you are immediately asked to put on one or more shirts, or to disappear. Sharp attention is paid due to the luxurious appearance and the chic level of the port. In this aspect the port is very similar to St. Tropez.

Sports activities in Port Grimaud

In Port Grimaud and its immediate vicinity, many sporting activities are possible:

  • Golf is possible in the immediate vicinity in multiple locations
  • Go-kart track, mini golf, beach volleyball and tennis
  • Windsurfing, sailing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, diving school, parasailing, pedal boats, canoe/kayak, motor/speedboat and banana/tube
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