Grimaud is a village in the Var department, on the French Riviera, located 15 kilometers from both Saint Tropez and Sainte-Maxime. The village is probably named after Gibelin de Grimaldi, who received the land as a gift from William 1 of Provence for his help with the expulsion of the Saracens. The name Grimaud is mentioned for the first time in deeds relating to the castle, Castrum de Grimaldo, which was actively used until the French Revolution, and of which the ruin which has been partly restored is worth a visit.
Discover a selection of the most beautiful places and attractions in Grimaud
The first mention of Grimaud dates from around the year 1000, when the land between Grimaud and the current Saint Tropez was donated to Gibelin de Grimaldi by the count of Povence Willem 1 for his help in driving the Saracens. The castle, the Castrum de Grimaldo, dates back to this period. The castle is slowly being extended, and at the beginning of the 14th century the castle becomes the property of the Pontèves family. In the following 3 centuries, the castle becomes more and more important, until the port of Saint Tropez starts to play a more important role, at the expense of the castle's role, which is becoming less and less interesting for trade. During the French Revolution the castle is destroyed, and the owners flee to Nice. Since 1980 there are various restoration projects.
The number of permanent residents of Grimaud is 4200 in 2017
Grimaud has a Mediterranean climate, with the following average temperatures per month: January 10 February 10 March 12 April 14 May 17 June 21 July 25 August 25 September 22 October 18 November 14 December 11
Wandering through its narrow streets that are filled with colourful bougainvillea and pink and white oleander bushes, Grimaud is a typical Provençal village with numerous little squares surrounded by houses in warm stone colours with red tiled roofs and colourful painted window shutters. The village nestles on a hillside between Saint Maxime and Cogolin on the French Riviera and is surrounded by unspoilt countryside. Whilst it lies just a few kilometres from Saint Tropez in distance, Grimaud could be a thousand kilometres away with its sleepy ambience where time is measured in lengthening shadows and the passing seasons. The village has a long history that can be traced from AD 973 when Gibelin De Grimaldi helped William the Good drive the Saracens of Fraxinet from the area. Grimaldi was rewarded with a large piece of land at the head of the Gulf of Grimaud (now known as the Gulf of Saint Tropez). In the early 11th century, Grimaldi built a castle on the hillside at a height of 503 metres to help defend the south coast and slowly a small community developed there and prospered. The castle walls were added in the 13th century and in times of war and plague provided safety to the villagers who retreated within them. Since then the lovely rustic village of Grimaud developed below the castle and was little known until the 1930s when Saint Tropez and its surrounding areas were 'discovered' by artists, dress designers and celebrities. Somehow, Grimaud has managed to stay as a relaxing back water with little change – probably thanks to the sizeable Port Grimaud development down by the coast. The perfect way to enjoy discovering Grimaud and soaking up its atmosphere is on foot. The newest square in the village is aptly called Place Neuve although it was actually built in 1886!
This pretty square was built around the village fountain which was the main water supply for all the houses. There are two older squares; Place Vieille where there is often some games of Petanque to watch in the early evening and Place du Cros is the location of most of the village restaurants. The main village church of Saint Michel is just a short distance from Place Vieille. This pretty little church was built at the end of the 12th century and its bell tower was added some 400 years later. Inside, there are faded fragments of wall frescoes to be seen on the walls. Beyond the church, the chapel of Saint Roch and the Roch windmill can both be visited. They date from the 17th century and the windmill was beautifully restored in 1990. This pretty little church was built at the end of the 12th century and its bell tower was added some 400 years later. Inside, there are faded fragments of wall frescoes to be seen on the walls. Beyond the church, the chapel of Saint Roch and the Roch windmill can both be visited. They date from the 17th century and the windmill was beautifully restored in 1990. The streets behind the church that lead to Place du Cros are the oldest ones in the village and contain another, much smaller square called La Placette. Interestingly, Rue des Templiers was once the main road, but is still important as it contains the impressive 16th century Town Hall of Grimaud. There are several other chapels situated in the village – the 15th century La Chapelle des Pénitents, La Chapelle Saint François d'Assise and the La Chapelle Notre Dame de la Queste. Many of the old houses have been sensitively renovated in recent years. There is a little ethnographical museum that contains all types of interesting artefacts including hand tools and craft equipment used in the village over the past 200 years. Having enjoyed the village itself, it is time to make the climb up to the castle, which on a warm summer's day can be hard work, but the view from the top is ample reward!
The panoramic view from the castle is magnificent as it is over the red tiled roof tops of the village and the unspoilt countryside in one direction with the wooded hillsides of the Massif des Maures on the horizon and the beautiful azure waters of the Mediterranean in the other. After a day exploring Grimaud, what better than relaxing over a tasty meal? There are several different restaurants to choose from including Fleur de Sel which has plenty of local dishes on the menu and a take-away service and Les Santons which has been family run since 1962 and is a popular watering hole with visiting politicians and celebs. There are a number of delicious local specialities to try including anchoiade which is a tasty sauce of anchovies and olive oil and Tapenade, the classic Provençal dish of chopped olives and capers mixed with olive oil – both are delicious hors d'oeuvres. The most popular olives in the area are shiny, oval black olives called La Cailette, whilst Pissaladière is pizza with a local twist! Honey from Provence is held in high esteem as it is said to be really pure and flavoured by the numerous summer flowers. The village has several charming holiday houses and villas for holidaymakers and many of the visitors to Grimaud return time and time again because it is as relaxing and tranquil or action-packed as you want to make it!.There are several traditional markets to enjoy in the village. On Thursdays there is a colourful selection of stalls piled high with fresh produce, flowers and an assortment of Provençal products. Every Sunday, there is all the fun of the popular Jas des Roberts Brocante (flea market). If you are an early riser, this morning market begins at 06.00 when it is surprisingly busy with bargain hunters! Each stall is different and filled with all types of interesting articles including old stamps and First Day Covers, old coins, pieces of handmade lace, old silver cutlery, glassware and various copper and brass items.
A little further afield, there are markets in Port Grimaud on Thursdays and Sundays and twice weekly in Saint Tropez and Saint Maxime (full details from the tourist information office in the village). For those who enjoy simply relaxing in the warm sunshine with a good book, there are numerous little corners to rest awhile before going for a leisurely coffee. For walkers there are some interesting routes from the village that follow various footpaths that are hundreds of years old including a particularly beautiful one that takes walkers along the Valley of the Pont des Fées – this pretty arched stone bridge is in fact an old aqueduct. Many of the walks follow glistening streams in the local countryside. For those who prefer to stretch out on a beach, there are a number of enticing sandy beaches – both private and public- down at the coast and several have a variety of water sports too. Le Petit Train leaves Place Neuve in the village to make the one hour scenic journey down to Port Grimaud and is well worth catching as it makes a fascinating contrast to village life! Port Grimaud is a large marina with candy-coloured houses and the nickname 'the Venice of Provence'. It was designed by the architect François Spoerry in 1962 and was built in three phases. The architect's vision was to create a waterside community where each property was built in the local character with both a garden and a boat mooring. The complex covers 75 hectares and has seven kilometres of canals which connect the 2,400 homes and 2,000 boats. Slightly further afield, the village of Cogolin is situated five kilometres away and is lovely village with the fascinating Courrieu pipe workshop just near the centre. There are hundreds of beautifully hand carved pipes made from local materials such as briar roots and the designs include carved faces of many famous people.
The pipes are on sale and very reasonably priced. The village also has a botanical park with 34 local species, other villages to visit include Ramatuelle and Gassin. For keen golfers, there is a beautiful and varied 18-hole course at Beauvallon, just on the western outskirts of Grimaud and the town of Sainte Maxime lies just 12 kilometres away in the same direction! The mountains of Massifs des Maures beckon keen walkers and cyclists and a popular village in these mountains is Collobrières which is well known for its candied chestnuts. Grimaud is a delightful village to visit at any time of the year and for its size has a surprising number of fun events to enjoy. The year begins with the 'Salon des Peintres' which is a one-week event held each April and September. The popular wool fair takes place on Ascension Thursday and the Feast of the Mill follows the following month in June. Bastille Day on 14 July is celebrated throughout France and just a few weeks later, Grimaud looks its best for its own village festival. A popular event that takes place regularly throughout the year is Les Soirées Musicales de Grimaud' which are wonderful classical music concerts. Walking through the charming, narrow flower-filled streets of Grimaud and pausing for a plate of freshly made tapernade and a glass of chilled French white wine as you sit in the golden sunshine of Provence, it is hard to imagine a better place to enjoy a holiday...,
743, route nationale 83310 – Grimaud
33 (0)4 94 43 21 02
Traditional French cuisine
4 place du Cros 83310 Grimaud village
Place du Marché 83310 PORT GRIMAUD
0033 4 94 54 20 50