Provence

Port Grimaud

A colourful seaside village on the French Rivera, Port Grimaud boasts an intricate labyrinth of canals that has earned it the nickname the Little Venice of Provence.
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Built on marshy land by architect François Spoerry, Port Grimaud is also called the Little Venice of Provence, with its Mediterranean-style houses and its labyrinth of canals. It is nothing more than the marina of the old village of Grimaud, which is about 3 kilometres inland.

The village is very recent and dates back to the 1960s. At that time, the area in which Port Grimaud extends was made up of marshes and the alluvial plain of the Giscle, which was only used for farming or hunting. It was only after a major reclamation project that this corner of the sea became an object of interest for tourist development. It was the Alsatian architect François Spoerry who bought the land in order to realise every sailor’s dream: to own a house with his own boat moored on it.

Thus was born an ambitious project, imagining a village where land and sea interpenetrate to perfection. Distinguished by traditional architecture, it is made up of Provençal-style houses with Mediterranean influences, full of porticoes and Venetian references.

The village covers an area of 90 hectares, spread over 12 islands connected by 14 bridges, 16 km of arcades, 7 km of canals and 14 km of quays to accommodate up to 3000 boats.

Things to do in Port Grimaud

The lakeside town of Port-Grimaud is one of the most beautiful resorts on the Côte d’Azur, opening directly onto the bay of Saint-Tropez. Port-Grimaud is characterised by a unique architecture and a maritime atmosphere so special that it has been nicknamed the Little Venice of Provence.

Each house has its own mooring ring, the canals intersect to form an original labyrinth, car circulation is prohibited, and the choice of colour tones is in harmony with the blue of the Mediterranean, shimmering in the sun. A true rewriting of the marine space, its concept is that of a village where land and sea merge in harmony. The architect’s aim was to make it a new city, pleasant to live in, with all the services available to residents.

The facades of the lakeside town, which sometimes include enchanting trompe l’oeil, simple architectural motifs such as columns, oculus and capitals, or statues of characters such as a Provençal woman leaning out from her balcony, create a pleasant stylistic harmony.

Church of St Francis of Assisi

183310 Grimaud, Francia

François Spoerry, the Mulhouse architect who designed Port Grimaud, imagining a real village life for this place, also decided to found a church within the lakeside town. He was largely inspired by the churches of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in Camargue.

The church is quite simple inside, but its highlight are the 25 stained glass windows by Victor Vasarely, representing the movement of the sun at different times of the day. The Hungarian visual artist, a naturalised French citizen, is considered the father of optical art and designed, for example, the Renault logo. The creator of Port Grimaud rests in the crypt inside this church.

Don’t forget to climb to the top of the church for a breathtaking view of the bay of St Tropez: from here you can admire the intricate maze of canals that characterise the village.

Main Bridge of Port Grimaud

25 Pl. du Marché, 83310 Grimaud, Francia

On the bridge between Place des Artisans and Place du Marché, we find the most photographed view of Port Grimaud: the superb cast-iron pillars supporting the terraces on the upper level bring to mind certain neighbourhoods in Venice or even New Orleans, bordered by a magnificent row of arcades.

Port channels

344 Rue des 2 Iles, 83310 Grimaud, Francia

Port Grimaud houses 14 bridges used to access the 12 islands imagined by François Spoerry, arranged in a veritable labyrinth of navigable canals. One of these bridges is made of wood and is the only one that is entirely pedestrianised.

Apart from a few residents, cars are forbidden in the lakeside town. To move between the islands, residents board coches d’eau, solar-powered boats. Visitors can also hire them, on a specific circuit. It is possible to rent individual electric boats, to experience the thrill of being the captain of the Port Grimaud canals for a few moments.

To admire the labyrinthine web of canals, the best place is the terrace of the bell tower. Thanks to the church’s spiral staircase and its 78 steps, you get to the top where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

Plage de Grimaud

The large expanse of white sand of the Port Grimaud beach is suitable for everyone, families and beach lovers alike. It enjoys an idyllic location, just a stone’s throw from the world-famous lakeside town of the same name: it only takes a few steps to go from the Little Venice of Provence to the sea.

Please note that there is a strict dress code in the village and it is forbidden to walk around the lake town in a swimming costume. This prohibition is enforced by the security officers in charge, who, if necessary, will approach people who dress inappropriately, cordially pointing out that as this is private property, appropriate attire is mandatory. If persons in contravention do not comply with the regulations, they will be asked to leave the site and in some cases escorted to the exit.

Grimaud

The old boungaville-clad village of Grimaud is a typical Provençal village located 3 km from the coast and Port Grimaud.

Looming over the village are the ruins of the Chateau du Grimaud, in which evening concerts, Les Grimaldines, are held in summer. The exact history of the chateau remains somewhat enigmatic: there are few written records and no documents allow us to know what the original state of the chateau was, before it was turned into a stone quarry for the construction of the village.

A stone’s throw from the village, a walk in the open air will take you to the Fairy Bridge, a place considered magical: it is in fact the ancient aqueduct that supplied the village with water.

Night Market

The seaside village of Port Grimaud is bathed in light and charm in the evenings, to which the lively night market for handicrafts, which takes place on evenings in July and August, also contributes. The craft exhibitors are authentic, established or up-and-coming creators, who work in original ways with all materials such as wood, iron, earth, leather, glass or fabric. Take the opportunity to visit the shops, restaurants and ice-cream parlours that complete an unforgettable evening.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article.

Where to stay in Port Grimaud

The colourful village offers a variety of high-quality accommodation: luxury hotels and flats overlooking the water are the most popular with tourists looking for charm and comfort. Of course, accommodation prices are very high, especially in the summer season.

Alternatively, you can consider sleeping in Saint-Tropez, which is only 12 km away or in Toulon, 63 km from the small village.

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How to get to Port Grimaud

Port Grimaud is perfectly equidistant from the 2 main airports on the French Rivera and Provence: Marseille Airport and Nice Airport, which are both about 1½ hours from the village. With a convenient car rental in Nice or a car rental in Marseille, you can reach Port Grimaud in 100 km.

Once you arrive in the seaside village, please note that it is mandatory to leave your car in one of the many pay car parks, which are located outside the centre. From 15 June to 15 September, the municipality provides a free shuttle with 22 places that will take you directly to the heart of Port Grimaud.

Port Grimaud Weather

What's the weather at Port Grimaud? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Port Grimaud for the next few days.

Tuesday 23
24°
33°
Wednesday 24
22°
31°
Thursday 25
23°
30°
Friday 26
25°
31°
Saturday 27
25°
31°
Sunday 28
25°
32°

Where is located Port Grimaud

Halfway between Saint Tropez and Sainte Maxime, Port Grimaud is a colourful seaside village.

Location around