Port Grimaud, near Saint-Tropez, is the Venice of the French Riviera. The town, built on the water, is a bit kitsch, but it’s still worth visiting. It’s best to rent an electric motor-boat and sail around the town.
Imagine buying a piece of land at the mouth of a river and building a city there whose streets are channels that are spanned by numerous bridges. This is Port Grimaud lying just 7 km from Saint-Tropez. François Spoerry, the main architect of Port, had such a dream. In 1962 he bought the area just off the Bay of Saint-Tropez, and four years later got a building permit.
Port Grimaud was created in stages, and the entire investment was completed in 2000. The author of this enterprise died in 1999, and his body rests in the church on the main square of the Port.
Port Grimaud – a private estate on the water
Port Grimaud is basically a private town, and lies 6 km from the medieval Grimaud. It’s called the Venice of the French Riviera or sometimes the Provencal Venice. Admittedly, the architect managed to partially recreate the atmosphere he dreamed of; but on the other hand, you can’t resist the impression that the whole thing is a bit kitschy and, at the same time, not very natural. However, this does not prevent tourists from visiting this unusual attraction on the French Riviera.
The whole thing consists of terraced houses built on artificial peninsulas and islands, and thanks to this, every Port Grimaud resident has access to the water and a private mini marina. And probably everyone takes advantage of these facilities – with smaller and bigger yachts and motorboats moored in front of houses in a row. Individual peninsulas are connected by small bridges built in different styles. On one of the squares on one of the islands there is a church – a small observation tower (1 euro access) has been built next to it from which there is a view of the entirety of Port Grimaud, the nearby Saint-Tropez, as well as the whole bay.
Port is best visited by boating around the town in an electric boat. You can rent one just outside the main entrance and also in several other places. A 30 minutes hire costs about 30 euros, and another 30 euros must be left as a deposit. Boats fit up to 5 people and drive slowly, so even a child can manage it. Of course, you can also use larger units that are driven by a service employee.
Is it worth visiting Port Grimaud?
Port Grimaud is definitely worth a visit. You should spend about 2 hours there (including the electric boat time). There are two large car parks around the port, so there’s no problem with leaving the car (there is no vehicular traffic on the estate).
To get to the Port from Nice, take the A8 motorway and head for Saint-Tropez.