A place that is conducive to daydreams and travel…

A firm favourite : Admire the view from the church bell tower.

An absolute must : Explore the canals of Port Grimaud on board an electric boat or water taxi.

A real bonus : A city without cars

It is now fifty years since planning permission was given to build Port Grimaud. Who was the designer? A visionary architect from the Alsace region, who dreamt up this modern-day, lakeside city.

François Spoerry was a fan of gentle architect; that is to say he was opposed to the large, regular-shaped, rectilinear structures that were popular at that time. And so Port-Grimaud was born with its wonderful sense of space and mid-rise buildings, redolent of Provence, in keeping with the existing, surrounding buildings.

And then, you have the colours. Subtle, colourful shades, blending with the azure blue of the Mediterranean sea, , gleaming in the sun. The basic concept – which was revolutionary in the field of coastal design – is that of a village where land and sea are intertwined.

Port Grimaud, which comprises Provençal-style houses and Mediterranean influenced architecture, is a seaside dream-turned-reality. Canals criss-cross the town, traffic is controlled and each house has its own mooring. The architect’s goal was to create a new type of city, somewhere that was pleasant to live, with a range of amenities for residents.

It’s a gem of a place, ideal for exploring on foot or by boat.

Sometimes copied, but never equalled, the “lagoon city” of Port-Grimaud is a great architectural triumph. This flamboyant, fifty year old town hasn’t aged a day and certainly deserved to be included on the list of France’s “20th century Heritage” sites in 2002.

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