If you’re coming to Grimaud for the first this year, here are a few things you need to know about Grimaud.
A little bit of history
Ideally located in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, between the sea and the forest, Grimaud has existed since the 11th century. Classified as one of the « most beautiful detours in France, » this Provençal village may take its name from a wealthy landowner named « Grimaldi. » The medieval castle, located in the heart of the Massif des Maures, served as a protective stronghold for the population against the plague and bandits. Until the 17th century, the villagers lived behind the castle walls. As the village expanded, it became known as the capital of Freinet, with a population of 1,200 in the 14th century. The commune’s wealth and strategic geographical position made it an important vantage point for monitoring the Gulf of Saint Tropez.
During the 17th century, thanks to several water and wind mills, Grimaud achieved food self-sufficiency. The inhabitants produced flour and olive oil, among other things.
In 1966, the commune expanded with the construction of the lacustrine city of Port Grimaud. François Spoerry was the architect behind this project, which was built on former marshland.
The colorful houses have a quay for mooring boats, as well as land access. Thus, a true maritime village was born, complete with shops, a church, and a post office. Known as the « Provençal Venice, » Port Grimaud was awarded the « Heritage of the 20th Century » label in 2002.
Places you should visit
The historic center
Strolling through the narrow alleys of Grimaud is a true pleasure! The cobblestone streets, the Saint Michel church, the chapels, the wells and squares, as well as the flower-adorned houses, all contribute to the undeniable charm of this Provençal village. In summer, you can even enjoy the vibrant colors of bougainvillea and oleanders adorning the facades.
The castle of Grimaud and the « Les Grimaldines » festival
The ruins of the medieval castle can be visited for free at any time of the day. They offer a sublime panoramic view of the Gulf of Saint Tropez and the Massif des Maures.
Every summer, the Grimaldines festival brings this historical monument back to life. World music concerts are organized in the castle courtyard, and street performances take over the old town center. It’s an opportunity to gather people of all ages in a magical place steeped in history.
The trail of Vallon du Pont des Fées
This walk instantly transports you to the heart of nature. The Saint-Roch mill, a recently renovated former windmill, serves as the starting point. You will then follow along the river, and before you stands the Pont des Fées (Bridge of the Fairies). It once served to supply water to the village. Along the way, you may come across a Hermann’s tortoise, an endangered species still present in the Var region, particularly in the Maures Massif. Vineyards, olive groves, and Mediterranean scrubland will accompany you throughout the rest of the walk, accompanied by the chirping of cicadas.
The Musée du Patrimoine / The Heritage Museum
Splendid 16th-century buildings house this museum, which allows you to discover the way of life of the inhabitants of the Gulf of Saint Tropez in the past. Reconstructed scenes and period costumes will immerse you in the history of the village. Temporary exhibitions are regularly organized there. Admission is free.
After your cultural outings, treat yourself to a moment of relaxation by the sea. Grimaud boasts numerous sandy beaches, such as Beauvallon, Plage des Cigales, Plage de Guerrevieille, and Plage du Gros Pin.