Grimaud – One of France’s Most Beautiful Detours

Article publié dans FR2DAY en 2010 (article published in FR2DAY in 2010)

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The medieval village of Grimaud, in Le Var, may not have made the list of the “most beautiful French villages”, it is nonetheless considered one of France’s “plus beaux détours”, an honour bestowed on little towns with a population of at least 2,000 but no more than 20,000.

Located just a few miles away from the world-famous and glamorous St. Tropez, this charming perched-village has managed to remain unspoiled and offers a relaxed and calm alternative to tourists wary of the crowded summers on the Riviera.

Just take any of the cobbled streets and start wondering among the terracotta tiled houses and the bougainvillier flowered façades. You will relive a long history that began with the Gallo-Roman age. Your steps will lead you to the ruins of the 11th Century castle that offers an amazing panoramic view of the Gulf of Saint Tropez, which, until the end of the 19th century was called “Gulf of Grimaud“. For a long time – until the 17th century to be precise – the castle controlled the access to the gulf from the North and from the Maures mountains.

During your stroll, you will pass by the St. Michel’s Church, built during the Roman era, the Penitents’ Chapel (15th Century), St. Roch’s Chapel (18th Century), St. Roch’s Windmill, built in the 17th Century but restored recently by the “Compagnons du Tour de France“, as well as many cute squares and beautiful provencal houses.

Further down the hill, the remains of the 16th century Pont des Fées (“fairy bridge”) shows how the village’s water supply was guaranteed.

Today, however, Grimaud is much more than just a medieval village and its most famous feature is probablyPort-Grimaud, which cannot be more different from the village itself. Conceived in 1966 by the architect François Spoerry, this marina or “lake-dwelling” city has more than 2,400 properties and more than 2,000 boat moorings. It also has 7km of canals, spread over 90 hectares and is one of the most frequented places in France. However, despite its modernity, it has been declared a registered monument of the 20th century by the Ministry of Culture.

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