The weather reporters promised us a beautiful day on New Year’s and they definitely followed through. It was absolutely gorgeous and we made every minute of it count for us.
Dude and I decided that a road trip was in order that day. What the heck, it’s a holiday right? So off we went to visit Port Grimaud. I had never been there but I had seen pictures and heard that it was one of those “must see” places in France and I was definitely not disappointed. Dude and I concluded that it could very well be the French twin for California’s Balboa Island.
Since it was a holiday, everything was closed with the exception of one restaurant. I pretty much think that even this place would be closed down even if it weren’t a holiday. There were signs up on many of the store fronts saying that they were closed for the season and would reopen again in April.
From the look of it, I gathered that this is a hot spot during the summer season. On this particular day Dude and I were the only Americans around. It seemed to be the day of the Italians with just about everyone we passed speaking Italian. There was a bit of French sprinkled in every now and again and we did hear one group speaking British English, but we were overwhelmingly in a crowd of Italians. I’m not complaining one bit, though, since I absolutely love to listen to Italian. I’m guessing they had some special to go to France this season or something! We even saw the Italian roller team van!
There are a couple of areas to Port Grimaud. One is the gate way to the first area that was built with the bridges and shops and older homes along the canal and the other is the south port with newer style homes and a newer looking layout.
We started with the “old” Port. Now, I use the term “old” here very loosely since this area is not old by any means. I hate to burst your bubble (since mine was) but I did some research on this area and it seems that it was constructed in and around 1967. The good thing about it is that the architect kept up with the old fashion French village look and things look really vintage which is unlike other really ugly ( I might add) structures that were constructed during that same time period in France.
We entered through the main gate that takes you to the main street which then branches off onto other streets by which you cross the bridges. It would have been nice if shops were open, but then again, it was nice to take a leisurely stroll without being bombarded by a bunch of people. There are streets to walk down that have houses on either side and then there are areas where you can walk just along the canal. I’m guessing there is something there called CC&Rs (at least that is what we call them in the states) because every house was neatly painted and fixed-up. You aren’t going to find any broken down remodels in this place. I have a feeling that is “interdit” in these parts. The other curious thing is everyone had these weird chimney tops that were surrounded by house tiles. Kind of strange, but it must be on the books that one has to have upright tiles surrounding the chimney vent!
After walking the port we headed over to the beach area. There is a lovely view of St. Tropez just across the water. The sea, as usual, had the loveliest colors imaginable. I made a mental note not to come here in the summer as I think that finding even a small spot on the beach would be impossible due to the fact that it is a sandy beach (there are quite a few beaches in Provence that are rocky) and also due to the gorgeous view. If you do decide to make a trip here in the summer, there is ample parking (which was quite nice) and it’s not far from the beach. The down side is that the tariffs are really expensive. There is free parking along the main street just adjacent to the entrance of the port but you would have to get there mighty earlier to take advantage of it.
After our walk along the beach Dude and I headed back to the car for a quick bite to eat (we always picnic it on road trip day) and then we walked over to see what the southern port was like. This side was also nice, but it isn’t as lovely as the old port side. This area has its own beach access which is a bit smaller, but the view is the same.
Dude and I found an old boat that had encountered some issues sometime in its life and had washed ashore. From the looks of it, I think it had been there awhile. It was only a shell as someone had come by and stolen all the internal parts. I’m sure it makes for a great toy for the kiddies in the summer.
This area, though fairly new in France, was definitely worth the trip. I do recommend it and make sure you take the whole day. Even if you don’t make it to the beach, it’s a wonderful way to stroll along the Mediterranean and just enjoying being outdoors in a beautiful environment.
If you want to see more photos of Port Grimaud they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.