Perched on its headland, the old village of Grimaud, a listed Historical Monument, dominates the Gulf of Saint Tropez and the surrounding area which it guards with its medieval castle. It’s worth making the climb, in order to fully appreciate this magical place.
Beauty of Provence
The mood is set for this tour by the Provençal charm of narrow streets and flower-decked façades, the religious buildings – churches, chapels and oratories – and the profusion of reminders of the wealth of this former capital of Le Freinet. Here, time stands still and the emotion of history is intact.
You’re stopped in your tracks many times by the breathtaking views along the way, especially if you make the effort to reach the Château (Castle) of Grimaud!
So don’t hesitate to get yourself lost in the authenticity of this medieval maze. Map of Grimaud.
The most remarkable features of Grimaud are the Château (Castle) and Saint Michael Church, both classified Historical Monuments, but also the Rue des Templiers (Templar Street), the Penitents Chapel, the Windmill and the Saint Roch Chapel…
The existing town hall is in two buildings which were reorganised in the 1980s. This building was the “Clastre” from at least the 16th century. It was home to the parish priests. In the 19th century, the town hall moved in, along with the justice of the peace, and the boys’ classroom. In the beginning of the 19th century, the teacher used the small garden below as a kitchen garden.
Placette and the historical center
The centre of the village shelters the soul of the medieval market town which stretched from the castle to Saint-Michel church. The buildings are squat, the streets sinuous, and you can still see beautiful door and window frames dating from the 15th and 16th century, a prosperous period for the village.
This charming square is the centre of village life, where petanque players and other inhabitants meet. During the summer festival, Les Grimaldines, it is taken over for games that are enjoyed by children and adults.
Place du Cros
“Cros” means hollow in Provençal dialect. Under the existing paving stones is a well tank which catches the rain water from the surrounding roofs. The Cros covered passageway gives access to kitchen gardens and other farmland which stretched to where the Place Neuve is today.
Rue de la Pompe, the retirement home and creation of the hospice
The current retirement home was one of the gulf’s first hospices. Called a ‘hospital’ in the 17th century, the building sheltered paupers and orphans. It was later run by nuns, and also became the school for girls.
Not far away, a brick hand pump sheltered one of the village’s two old wells, which we know existed as early as the 11th century. Due to droughts, and to make drawing water easier, in 1841 the well was equipped with a hand pump which can still be seen today.