Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Port-Grimaud
Listed as a ’20th century heritage’ town by the Ministry of Culture, Port-Grimaud was designed by the architect François Spoerry, the brain behind a number of other marinas and waterfront towns around the world such as Port Louis in Louisiana, Port Liberté in New York, Porto Cervo in Sardinia, Puerto Escondido in Mexico, and Port Cergy in Ile-de-France.
The Alsace-born François Spoerry completed his architecture studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Marseille in 1943. In the wake of the war, he distinguished himself from the modernist movement by adopting a style based on the principles of dense urbanism that dared to return to traditional modules and figures.
Port-Grimaud was built from scratch over swampy marshland. This waterfront village looking out over the sea stretches over 75 hectares and encompasses 2,400 homes, over 2,000 mooring spots, 7km of canal, 14km of quays, fourteen bridges and twelve islands.
Located in the heart of the Saint-Tropez Gulf, Port-Grimaud is positioned halfway between Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Tropez, and 6 kilometres away from the medieval village of Grimaud, the municipality in which the waterfront town is located.
The Saint-François d’Assise church
The stained glass windows designed by the artist Vasarely depict the cycle of the sun.
Note: In 2016, celebrations will be held to mark the artist’s birthday and the 40th anniversary of his foundation in Aix-en-Provence.
Visitors can climb to the very top and enjoy sweeping views over the waterfront town and the Bay of Saint-Tropez.
The remains of architect François Spoerry lie in a vault in this church. Every 15 August, the festival of the sea and fishermen is celebrated with a mass followed by a procession of boats down the canals to the port.
The Grimaldines music festival (mid-July/mid-August)
From mid-July to mid-August, the narrow streets of Grimaud’s old town celebrate, as visitors stroll by on their way to the medieval castle, with stunning views over the legendary Bay of Saint-Tropez. This is a dream setting for artists, even those exposed to other beauty spots.
Check the line-up at: www.les-grimaldines.com
New in Grimaud: permanent orienteering trail with the Cirkwi app
4 trails have been cleared and marked in the old town by Grimaud’s tourism office. A permanent orienteering trail lets visitors complete the circuit at their own pace, using a map and checking in at specified points along the way, stamping their cards as they go. A chance to get moving, get learning and have fun! Pick up your cards from the tourism office: www.grimaud-provence.com
A new art centre in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez
Port Tonic Art Center, a brand-new new 4,000m2 site with 180° views of the sea, welcomed in a number of international contemporary artists in 2015, as well as works from the Saudi Arabian BASMOCA museum.
Where to stay in Port-Grimaud
As well as holiday apartments you can rent via agencies or the www.golfe-saint-tropez-information.com booking site, you might like to consider two hotels in the heart of the waterfront town that offer a high-end experience:
Hotel Le Giraglia****
Breakfast by the canal and private beach, 49 rooms with balconies or terraces overlooking the sea or marina, and a gourmet restaurant www.hotelgiraglia.com
Hôtel le Suffren***
Positioned on the market square, the Suffren hotel offers rooms and apartments that have been fully renovated in the Provençal style, and spectacular yachts moored just outside the hotel’s front door. www.hotel-suffren.com
Off the beaten track: Les Prairies de la Mer*****
Located a stone’s throw from the waterfront town of Port Grimaud, this village built directly on the sand enjoys direct access to the sea. Quirky rooms decorated in a Polynesian style treat guests to high-end outdoor hospitality facilities. The list of sports activities to enjoy here is endless. Don’t miss: a trip to their Spa by Sarôme space for a guaranteed treat for the senses! www.riviera-villages.com/Les-Prairies-de-la-Mer