Port Grimaud, The Dream of One Man

Port Grimaud - Vue Aérienne - Logiservice

The creation of a village for sea lovers was the childhood dream of François SPOERRY, an Alsatian architect and sailor.

This dream was born at an early age during a visit to a museum in Zurich. There he discovered a model of a lakeside city, situated along the Swiss lakes and dating from prehistoric times. The discovery of Venice at the age of 40 and its many ports of call in the Mediterranean reinforced his desire to create a lake city.

Construction cité lacustre Port Grimaud - Logiservice

During a family dinner at his parents' house in Cavalaire, he hears for the first time about a swampy area at the bottom of the Gulf of Saint Tropez. That's how his dream began to come true: a village where land and sea intermingle.

Port Grimaud Var - Logiservice

The life of François Spoerry: creator of the lakeside city of Port Grimaud

François Spoerry was born on 28 December 1912 into a wealthy family of Alsatian industrialists.

  • In 1930, he began his training as an architect in Strasbourg.
  • In 1932, he wanted to join the navy, but his poor eyesight prevented him from doing so.
  • In 1943, he began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Marseille.

As a member of the resistance, he was denounced, arrested by the Gestapo in April 1943 and deported to the German concentration camps. He finally graduated in 1948.

After the war, he opened his first architectural practice in Mulhouse and took part in many postwar reconstruction projects. He designed the largest French structure of the time, the European Tower of Mulhouse, which houses a revolving panoramic restaurant.

He also participated in the creation of new districts: in Gassin in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, in Port Liberté in New York Bay, in Puerto Escondido in Mexico, in Porto Cervo in Italy, etc...

He died on January 11, 1999 in his magnificent and large residence located on rue de l'île Longue where a flag was flying while he was staying there. At his request, François Spoerry rests in a vault inside the city church.

 François SPOERRY, architecte Alsacien et marin - Logiservice

A street in Mulhouse has been named after him since June 2007.

It is a tribute from the Mulhouse Municipal Council who wanted to pay tribute to the architect who was elected municipal councillor for 24 years. The Place du Sud of Port Grimaud 2 was also renamed in his name, and his portrait was placed on the magnificent fountain there.

Port Grimaud vue du ciel - Var - Logiservice histoire de Port Grimaud

Thousands of visitors from all over the world come every year to discover the famous marina of Plaisance on the French Riviera. With 2,400 homes, 7km of canals and more than 2,000 moorings, Port Grimaud covers 75 hectares. In his project, the architect took into account 3 natural elements: Wind, Earth and Sea.

Beneath its allure of a small village with its shops, church, artisan baker, houses and apartments with moorings, Port Grimaud is in reality a huge co-ownership with its own rules and regulations.

The lakeside town is divided into 3 zones managed by three separate and autonomous syndicate associations: Port Grimaud I, Port Grimaud II and Port Grimaud III.

Logo de la cité Lacustre Port Grimaud - Logiservice

A Unique Design in Port-Grimaud

Port Grimaud - Logiservice Marina devant les habitations de la cite lacustre du Var 83

Nicknamed the "Venice of Provence", Port Grimaud has many features inspired by François Spoerry's many travels in Greece and around the Mediterranean basin.

He wanted a village for lovers of the sea, a village where every house is accessible by land and sea.

Suite à la réalisation d’études et de nombreux croquis, il a créé une cité harmonieuse à l’image de la région, avec des façades colorées, des tuiles anciennes romaines et des petites ruelles.

After carrying out studies and numerous sketches, he created a harmonious town in the image of the region, with colourful facades, ancient Roman tiles and small streets.

Port Grimaud au dessus des toits - Var - Logiservice - Historique de la Cité Lacustre dans le Golfe de Saint Tropez

The architect wanted a village close to the sea with, nevertheless, some greenery, which is why there are many gardens and some parks within the city.

It is composed of 33% vegetation..

Some pine trees, present on the site before the construction of the city, were preserved in the plans. Notably the one located on the quay of the former restaurant "la Tartane", now called "le Grand Pin".

François Spoerry did not wish to follow the architectural movements of the time, which favoured vertical lines.

He wanted to favour, for his creation, a "soft architecture". This is the title of his book published in 1989.

Port Grimaud - Logiservice grand pin pour ombrager la venise provencale

In spite of modern construction methods, François Spoerry was able to perfectly transcribe the soul and the artisanal and non-monotonous aspect of Mediterranean villages, so much so that many visitors think it is an old, renovated village.

Materials from a demolition site in Auvergne Rhône Alpes were used to give Port Grimaud a more authentic feel.

Port Grimaud conception et architecture - Logiservice

It can be seen that no façade is identical to another. Diversity is the watchword of this construction. A multitude of doors, windows, colours, balconies, fences, railings, genoises, columns and ironwork are visible in the village.

The houses are nested next to each other without ever being at the same height and their façades are never completely vertical.

Port Grimaud facade coloree - Logiservice Agence immobiliere

Whether houses, apartments or shops, all alterations to the facades must be authorised by a Port Grimaud trade union association. In fact, it is the site's three trade union associations that manage the maintenance and preservation of the marina.

In order to ensure that the inhabitants, shopkeepers and visitors can live together all year round in the best possible conditions, internal regulations exist. It stipulates in particular the prohibition to hang laundry on balconies and the prohibition of two-wheeled vehicles to circulate in the city. Security guards trained in first aid and fire-fighting are present 24/7 to help enforce these regulations.

Always concerned about maintaining the quality of life of residents and preserving the environment, there is a land transportation service using electric carts and a water transportation service, the water coaches, which operate 80% of the time in sunlight.

The city's plants are maintained without chemical agents and selective sorting is effective throughout the city. For some years now there have been several charging points outside the village for recharging electric cars.

Port Grimaud cite lacustre - Golfe de Saint Tropez Logiservice

The aesthetic details of Port-Grimaud not to be missed

Throughout the lakeside town, there are incredible details that make Port Grimaud pleasing to the eye and attractive :

  • The calades of the market square
    The calades represent images that were to announce the businesses in front of which they were located: bread for the bakery, glasses in front of the bar, ice cream in front of the ice cream parlor ... Unfortunately today the images no longer always correspond to the juxtaposed businesses. We can thus see on the market square that the current press house was supposed to be the bakery.

Calade de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Calade de Port Grimaud - Golfe de Saint Tropez - Logiservice

Port Grimaud - Logiservice

  • Cables and pipes are buried
    Water, gas, telephone and electricity cables and pipes are underground. No cables are visible in the city.

Port Grimaud - Cite Lacustre Agence Immobiliere Logiservice

  • The city's bridges are all unique
    The large bridge of Port Grimaud was designed in the dry, a few meters from its current location, which at the time greatly amused the local press: "They're crazy!».

Port Grimaud - Logiservice - visiteurs en ete

Pont de Port Grimaud reliant les rives - Logiservice

  • The Port Grimaud alleys are not straight
    In order to recall the old Mediterranean villages. François Spoerry wanted to limit car traffic by creating narrow alleys without pavements and parking lots in order to preserve the tranquillity of the city. A large car park was built at the entrance so that residents and visitors can reach the village on foot. During the Easter holidays in 1968, residents were able to understand the importance of this choice when two thousand cars invaded the outskirts of the town. When PG2 and PG3 were built, an interchange had to be constructed to ensure the safety of motorists travelling to Port-Grimaud.

Ruelle de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Port Grimaud - Logiservicefacades colorees et maison a vendre

Maison de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

  • Discoveries in the city
    One can also discover while walking in the city: a dovecote under a porch, a portrait of the architect in a fountain, trompe l'oeil such as false windows, a woman at her window, false mouldings...

Port Grimaud - Logiservice peinture sur les facade de la cite au bord de l eau

Port Grimaud - Logiservice - Cite lacustre merveilleuse

Detail porche de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

  • The bell tower of Port-Grimaud
    The architect hesitated for a long time about the aesthetics of the bell tower, which he financed himself. Many models and sketches show different types of tops. It can be seen that the top of the church of Saint-François d'Assise is sometimes minimalist, sometimes domed. It is finally the wrought iron summit that was chosen. It recalls the conical-shaped summit of the church of Grimaud village. The view from the top of the bell tower of Port Grimaud offers an incredible panorama of the lake city and the Gulf of Saint Tropez. The maintenance and repairs of the church of Port Grimaud is self-financing thanks to paid visits to the bell tower.

Port Grimaud - Logiservice clocher au bord de l'eau dans la cite lacustre

Port Grimaud - Logiservice vue sur le clocher

Dessin croquis de Port Grimaud

Dessin du clocher de Port Grimaud - Var

Plan du clocher de Port Grimaud

  • The perspectives of the lakeside city
    As you walk around the city you will notice that the perspectives have not been put aside.
    For example, from the first porch of the square of Port Grimaud 2, you can see in the extension of the second porch of the square, the bell tower of Port Grimaud 1.

    The architect wanted to remind the visitors of the still central place of the village church despite the enlargement of the city
  • The Singles Tower
    Inspired by Turkish forts, at the entrance to Port Grimaud 1, was built to accommodate the seasonal workers of the village.

At all hours, Port Grimaud shines...

Port Grimaud - Logiservice- La tour des célibataires

Port Grimaud en début de soirée estivale - Marina - Immobilier

Port Grimaud - Logiservice au coucher de soleil

Port Grimaud - Logiservice - Parcs et vegetaux dans la cité lacustre

Port Grimaud - Logiservice - La cité de nuit

Port Grimaud - Logiservice - Parc Immobilier mediterranee

Port Grimaud - Logiservice

The little French Venice

Histoire de Port Grimaud - Logiservice agence immo - Venise Francaise

Port Grimaud benefits from 7km of canals and 14km of quays. Boats that can access the canals must be less than 35m long and must be able to navigate in 3m depth. The maximum speed allowed is 3 knots. Three captain's offices are present on the marina to ensure the reception of boats, to enforce the internal regulations and to monitor the port.

In the early days, access to the sea was via a single pass through the Giscle, but eventually a direct access to the sea was built and today there are two passes through the Giscle. During the construction of Port Grimaud, the architect François Spoerry had to face several imperatives such as the access to the quay for each boat and the hydraulic system of the city.

Indeed, François Spoerry had to imagine a body of water where each dock is accessible without going under a bridge so that all types of boats can access their mooring. These were designed for medium-sized boats, 4m by 10m at the time. Today these moorings are considered small as a result of the modernization of the boats.

Photo historique Port Grimaud Voile

Bateau dans la venise provence Port Grimaud

In order to stir the water and avoid dead water zones, François Spoerry asked the Centre d'étude et de recherches de biologie et d'océanographie médicale de Nice for a complete hydrological study. Following this investigation, a pumping station and three windmills on the beach of Port Grimaud 1 were planned. But when the Giscle was connected to the Port Grimaud canals, it was noticed that a cyclical current allowed this mixing to take place naturally. This work was therefore abandoned.

Historique de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Frequently, a specialised team has to come and clear the seabed and combat silting at the entrance to the port. Silting is a recurrent phenomenon due to the action of winds and currents as well as boat engines. It reduces the depth of the canals. A first pier was built on 15 March 1968, with a straight shape.

Very quickly, additional work had to be carried out in order to bend the dyke so that it could fulfil its functions as well as possible. The beach at Port Grimaud 2 also had to benefit from a curved dike. Indeed, the construction of the Marines de Cogolin's stone dike caused a change in direction at the mouth of the Giscle, the river's course diverted towards Port Grimaud.

Port Grimaud vue du ciel - Cite lacustre - Agence immobiliere Logiservice

At the very beginning of the project, François Spoerry wanted to incorporate boat garages under the houses with direct access to the living room.

Eventually, for financial reasons, the only covered landing stage in the city is located in his own house, rue de l'ile longue, and gives access to the living room from the inside.

Port Grimaud - logiservice Agence immobiliere vente maison et appartement

In order for the canals to replace the streets, a water transportation system for the residents was quickly put in place: the first waterches were designed by Claude Graf and Pierre Héry. The "coches d'eau" also allow visitors to discover the lakeside city from the sea

It was Claude Graf who moored a seaplane at the end of the rue de la Tour in 1977. Even the craziest ideas were realized in Port Grimaud.

Photo noir et blanc de Port Grimaud - Historique hydravion

Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Port grimaud bateau dans la marina - Logiservice

Port Grimaud Golfe de St Tropez - Logiservice

Port Grimaud bateau - Golfe de St Tropez - Logiservice

Port Grimaud Marina Golfe de Saint Tropez - Logiservice agence immobiliere Var

Marina de Port Grimaud - Var - Logiservice

Photo historique de Port Grimaud - Logiservice

A construction out of the ordinary

Port Grimaud photo historique - Logiservice

Inspired by Mediterranean architecture and respectful of Provençal tradition, François Spoerry's dream was to create a real village with: its church, its common house, its post office, its market, its "place aux boules", its shops, its cafés, its houses, its school, its cinema, a large car park, to limit traffic in the city by encouraging walking or boating, but also to welcome visitors and ensure a revenue in the lake city.

Some of these projects have come to fruition and are still visible, others have been abandoned and others have not lasted over time.

The 35-hectare plot of land that François Spoerry bought himself at the beginning of this adventure was located at the bottom of the Gulf of Saint Tropez on a marshy area between the river named "la Giscle" and the RN98. It was a place infested with mosquitoes where only duck hunting and agricultural activity was practiced. The soil was made up of sand and was ideal for foundations.

Many pine trees were present on the site and were included in the architect's plans.

Photo panneaux Port Grimaud marecage histoire

When Spoerry discovered this place, he realized that he would make his dream come true there.

He applied for a building permit in 1963. Steps and administrative blockages followed for 3 years. The permit was finally issued on June 13, 1966. However, the date chosen was June 14... because the young son of a close friend of the architect wanted his birthday to be chosen.

So the architect honoured him by calling the first built square in Port Grimaud the 14th of June square.

In all of François Spoerry's sketches, the church had a central place and was high enough to demolish the 2 abandoned sand silos that the maritime administration did not want to demolish because they were used as landmarks for the sailors.

A decree forbidding construction within 50m of the shoreline complicated the work already begun, which had been planned according to the bumps and hollows created by the bombs during the war. The houses had to be moved back 25m and the bumps and hollows had to be "moved".

Panneau Port Grimaud - Photo Histoire de port Grimaud

The greatest challenge of this construction was the creation of the canals and the different islands.

To do this, Mr. Spoerry used the sheet pile system. It is a rather expensive system, but it has proved its worth since no construction defects were reported. The concept of the sheet piling is to delimit the contours of the future islands and then to drive real steel walls deep into the ground, about 5 meters deep.

These walls are then dug along to create the canals. The rubble collected is used to raise the islands and stabilize the ground. The installation of pilings finally makes it possible to consolidate the whole. The construction of the houses can then begin and the water can infiltrate into the canals.

Photo noir et blanc histoire Port Grimaud - Var - Logiservice

Creation de port Grimaud travaux Francois Spoerry - Logiservice

Construction de la cite lacustre Port Grimaud dans le Var - Logiservice

The work was carried out in stages until the end of construction of the lake city in the 2000s.

Both architect and developer, François Spoerry sold one section in order to build the next. Indeed, he was very criticized for his large-scale project and therefore had great difficulty in finding investors. In fact, he had to finance certain projects himself, such as the outdoor parking lot and the bell tower, in order to carry out his project in its entirety.

The first section was the closest to the sea: the main street and the 14 June square. The first houses were delivered in July 1967. They were sold very quickly, so much so that the second section was bought in its entirety before the works even started!

It was a real success!

Construction en cours de Port Grimaud la Venise Provencale - Logiservice

Over the years, the architect adapts the constructions according to the recommendations of the residents and changes in lifestyle: gardens on the quayside, more spacious living areas, parking close to the houses, attic space, solarium, ...

The architect has designed about ten typical dwellings ranging from a 30m2 studio to a 230m2 house.

We find the very popular "fisherman's house" with a width of 4 to 5.5m, 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 2 floors with 2 bedrooms and a toilet each as well as a bathroom on the first floor. The floors of the first houses in Port Grimaud were consolidated to be able to accommodate the boats in the living room during the winter.

The fireplace, nested under the staircase, has become a typical feature of the houses of Port grimaud.

The different types of accommodation in Port-Grimaud

Here are the different types of typical dwellings that François Spoerry designed for the lake city.

Are you looking for a house or an apartment in Port Grimaud? Many properties are available today in the sales catalog of our real estate agency in Port Grimaud Logiservice!

From 28 m² to 48 m²

- 1 bedroom
- 1 bathroom with toilet
- In co-ownership

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud L'appartement - Logiservice

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud Le Bungalow - Logiservice

Le Bungalow
With a width of 4 meters
From 60 m² to 68 m²

Ground floor :

- 1 bedroom
- 1 living room

Upstairs :

- 2 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom
- 1 toilet

La Balandrine
With a width of 4 meters
From 60 m² to 69 m²

Ground floor :

- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 toilet

Upstairs :

- 2 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Balandrine - Logiservice

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Hunière - Logiservice

La Hunière
With a width of 4.70 metres
From 61 m² to 65 m²

Ground Floor :

- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 toilet

Upstairs :

- 2 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom
- 1 toilet

La Cassine
With a width of 5.50 metres
From 70 m² to 75 m²

Ground floor :
- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 toilet and shower room

Upstairs :
- 3 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom
- 1 toilet

If 3rd level :
- Solarium

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Cassine - Logiservice

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Ostale - Logiservice

La Ostale
With a width of 5.50 metres
From 75 m² to 81 m²


- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 toilet and shower room

Upstairs :

- 3 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom
- 1 toilet

Or upstairs :
- 1 master bedroom
- 1 bathroom with toilet
- 2 bedrooms
- 1 shower room with toilet

La Maison de Pêcheur
With a width of 5.50 metres
From 77 m² to 97 m²

Ground floor :

- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room

First floor :

- 2 bedrooms
- 1 bathroom and 1 toilet

2nd floor :

- 2 bedrooms and 1 toilet

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Maison de Pecheur - Logiservice

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Portale - Logiservice

La Portale
With a width of 5.50 metres
From 90 m² to 99 m²

Ground floor :

- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 toilet and shower room

First floor :

- 3 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms

2nd floor :

- 1 parental bedroom with bathroom
- Balcony terrace

La Bord de Rive
With a width of about 9 meters
From 99 m² to 103 m²

Ground floor :

- 1 kitchen
- 1 living room
- 1 bedroom
- 1 toilet and shower room

Usptairs :

- 3 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- 2 toilets

Appartement - Maison Port Grimaud La Bord de Rive - Logiservice

Port Grimaud is a major project that François Spoerry created from scratch.

As with any project, certain elements were modified, added or removed as the work progressed. Indeed, on certain models and plans, we were able to see: a kiosk on the market square, a covered market on the craSsmen's square, a terrace on the roof of the Hotel Suffren, a small covered island bordered by moorings in the extension of the Ile des Pins, a swimming pool on the Ile des Pins, beach cabins, a nursery on the 14 June square, a nightclub, a small port reserved for the clients of the Hotel Giraglia, etc...

A social housing building on Septentrion Street was refused by the residents to the great regret of Mr. Spoerry, who wanted a true class mix in his village.

Among the projects that unfortunately did not last over Zme are: the cinema in the common house, which had to close in the 1980s and the Port Grimaud sewerage system, which was attached to the system of the commune of Grimaud in 1995, In order to inform the populaZon of the new shops, the progress of the works and informaZon about the town, François Spoerry created "Le Courrier de Port grimaud". This newspaper is unfortunately no longer published to this day.

Courrier de Port Grimaud archive - Logiservice

Logiservice - Ouverture dans le courrier de Port Grimaud

Port Grimaud also has its stars…

Brigitte Bardot 70's - Stars Port Grimaud - Logiservice

Many artists have lived, stayed or visited Port Grimaud: Georges Monin, Alain Souchon, Laurent Voulzy, Serge Mendjisky, Mama Daktari (the sister of François Spoerry, the famous flying doctor who treated people in remote areas of Africa), Brigitte Bardot (above with François Spoerry), Eddie Barclay, Gilbert Bécaud and many others...

Many films were shot in Port Grimaud, here is a part of them:

  • « Les biches »
    a film by Claude Chabrol, filmed in 1967, with Jean-Louis Trintignant who plays an architect inspired by François Spoerry.
  • A spécial clip of Brigitte Bardot
    by François Reichenbach for a television program broadcast on January 1, 1968, on the occasion of the New Year
  • « Le gendarme se marie »
    Third film in Richard Balduchi's Gendarme series, released in 1968, filmed by Jean Girault, with Louis de Funès and Michel Galabru.
  • « Poule et frites »
    A film by Luis Rego, released in 1987
  • « Les heures claires »
    TV film with Mireille DARC, in 1994
  • « Sous le Soleil »
    television series created by Olivier Brémond and Pascal Breton, filmed in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, including Port Grimaud
    (the actors were housed in the lakeside town).

Le Gendarme se marie - Film tourné a Port Grimaud

Les Biches - Film tourné a Port Grimaud

Sous le Soleil - Série francaise tournee a Port Grimaud

Brigitte Bardot Port Grimaud - French magazine LUI

Poule et Frites - Film tourné a Port Grimaud

Brigitte Bardot clip tourne a Port Grimaud - Golfe de Saint Tropez

Located in Port Grimaud since 1968, our real estate agency will be delighted
to share with you all our expertise and anecdotes about the beautiful lakeside town ...

Contact us at

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Chronology Port-Grimaud


Acquisition of swampy land, which is known to be unhealthy and infected with mosquitoes



Submission of the building permit


24 June 1965

Request for building permit sent to the Var Prefecture


13 June 1966

Building permit issued


Spring 1967

Start of work on the second phase (rue de l'octogone and rue de la tour)


Autumn 1967

Start of work on the Giraglia Hotel


July 1967

The first houses in Port Grimaud are delivered


11March 1968

Building permit granted for the market place


March 15, 1968

Construction of the first right dyke


Spring 1968

End of work on the first section (main street, place du 14 juin, place des 6 canons)


May and June 1968

Delivery of the houses and apartments of the 2nd stage


July 1968

Opening of the Hotel Giraglia


Summer 1968

Work begins on the ditch wharf


Mid-October 1968

Closure of the first right dyke


Autumn 1968

Construction begins on North Street


January 1969

Start of the construction of the 7th section (rue du ponant, île du couchant and rue des 2 îles)



Construction of the common house


Spring 1969

Reopening of the curved dike


Summer 1969

End of the rue de septentrion


2 November 1969

Laying of the foundation stone of the church


February 1970

Start of construction of the singles tower


Spring 1970

First house delivered on the "île du couchant" and "rue du ponant", rue des 2 îles


Summer 1970

End of construction of the singles tower


Summer 1971

The construction of PG1 is almost finished (only a few shops are missing from the craftsmen's square)


1973 to 2002

Construction of PG2


1978 to 1993

PG3 construction


Early 2000s

End of construction of the lake city


September 2002

Port Grimaud is listed as a 20th century heritage site by the Ministry of Culture


May 2015

Port Grimaud II is awarded the Blue Flag label
(symbol of an exemplary sustainable tourism development policy)

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