Archives pour la catégorie Holidays in South of France

Discover magnificent strolls along the tropezian coastal path (Sentier du Littoral Tropézien)

The Tropezian Coastal Path (Le Sentier du littoral tropézien is the tourist route favored by hikers.

« Recommended Vintage year 2017 » by the guides of the Petit Futé, it has become a must-see destination for climbing and walking enthusiasts. You can also discover this 20-kilometer path through guided tours, including horseback riding or a donkey ride.

By taking this path, you will follow the same route as customs officers, who in ancient times guarded the coast of Saint-Tropez to Cavalaire. There is nothing like a beautiful spring day to take you into a territory where lush vegetation and historical relics reign supreme. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover the cultural heritage of the Var and to enjoy the riches of a preserved natural territory. We strongly recommend you take  good walking shoes with you and don’t forget your picinic!

The Portalet Tower Source :  Golfe de Saint-Tropez tourisme

The Portale Tower
Source : Golfe de Saint-Tropez tourisme

Starting from the Tour du Portalet (The Portalet Tower), in the direction of the old quarters at the foot of the Citadel, When you face the sea that is when you see the famous path. You can contemplate between the capes and the peaks surrounding the Tropezian countryside. Walk further and soon after having walked the beach of Tahiti, you will travel along the vast bay of Pampelonne. Then you only have to climb to reach the Cap Camarat before coming down again to approach the beach of Escalet.

Plage de l'Escalet in Ramatuelle

Plage de l’Escalet in Ramatuelle

From there the rocks overlooking the sea, hit with full force the wild mass area of the Moors of Cap Lardier. The Caps Taillat and Cartaye are not left behind nevertheless, and you’ll surely find them strikingly beautiful. Note that the Canebiers beach gets its name from the hemp plantations in the vicinity (a « canebier » is the hemp retailer). It also served as an anchor for ships in transit. As for Cap Saint-Pierre, its prominence comes from its favorable positioning on the heights of the beach of Canebiers. Ideally located to observe the maritime circulation, it helped people monitor if smugglers came ashore.

Le Cap Taillat

Le Cap Taillat

Other amazing attractions include the beach of La Moutte. It is well known for the remnant of the wall of an ancient tuna trap. A rocky islet lies off the Croisette, offering a breathtaking view of the Esterel and as far as the Alps on a clear day.
Concerning the beach of Salins, its shore still retains the remains of the coral once caught on the rocky reefs. An islet is visible in the distance, you see the Head of the Dog, where several ships have run aground.At the back of the beach there is a brackish pond, the remnant of an ancient saline bordered with a gorse and bamboo fencing.

Plage des Salins Source : Golfe de Saint-Tropez Tourisme

Plage des Salins
Source : Golfe de Saint-Tropez Tourisme

We wish you an outstanding hike!

The Var is going to host to a step of the America’s Cup!

What a huge event! And a first for us! Next September, the city of Toulon and its surroundings are going to welcome the worldwide elite of sailing. Toulon will be the 5th and only step in France of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (LVACWS), a preliminary trail regrouping the six hopefuls of the America’s Cup. An opportunity for the area to reunite those who have a passion for sailing as well as a large public to support the French team, Groupama Team France, and to participate in a festive and spectacular event!

Groupama Team France

Groupama Team France – 35th America’s Cup – © Eloi Stichelbaut / GroupamaTeamFrance

Six prestigious teams are signed up for this 35th edition (the defender of the title and his 5 competitors) and will come face to face next September in Toulon’s harbor; a site chosen for its lake adapted to ideal racing conditions. During the press conference organized in Toulon on February 19, 2016, Hubert Falco, mayor of Toulon and president of the conglomeration committee TPM said he is “proud to welcome this prestigious worldwide sailing competition. This demonstrates the interest, influence and attraction of our harbor, one of the most beautiful in Europe. This also shows the capacity of our region to welcome and organize such international events.”

Franck Cammas, skipper on Groupama Team France who was also present at the press conference, declared “it is truly spectacular to be able to sail in front of our audience, at home. It is a great opportunity to show everyone the new format of the America’s Cup.” On request from Groupama Team France, we found two sailors on the charts who are just as outstanding as Franck Cammas: Michel Desjoyeaux and Olivier de Kersauson. Three sailors with complementary talents who have the common goal of bringing back the “Holy Grail of sailing”: the America’s Cup. “For this project, we wanted to develop a national reunion and mend the rift between individual challenges and group races” Franck Cammas goes on.


Franck is back – First Training in Oman par groupamateamfrance

The best competitors will sail in Toulon harbor

On the water, they are the fastest boats in the world, with the best personnel and managers that you have ever seen! The six competing groups are going to measure themselves on their flying catamarans – real “racing cars” when it comes to their technology – in front of the beaches from Mourillon to Toulon. Starting with this edition of the competition, the boats are shorter (they are now 15 m from a previous 21.6 m) and faster (more than 70km/h). The fleet of AC45, powerful “foil monotype” catamarans, propulsed by one rigid sail, promises spectacular and quick races that the audience can admire from the beach, which is pretty rare!

A large, popular and free party

Hubert Falco announced that “we are going to organize a large, popular party that is free!”. On top of the races which will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 PM in the harbor by the beaches of Mourillon (that will also be broadcast on giant screens) many cultural and sporting events will be organized on sea and on land. For three days, it will be a city vibrating with the rhythm of America: on the beaches in the Mourillon neighborhood where the village will be set up, but also the center of town will have several animations, and local expertise will be emphasized. With strong experience from the two Tall Ship’s Races, Toulon will come alive by participating in this exceptional event.

The beaches of Mourillon in Toulon

The beaches of Mourillon in Toulon

A dedicated organization

Groupama Team France, who is in charge of this step in Toulon, entrusted the organization to an association specially for creating this opportunity: “Association Cup Toulon Organization.” On request, Franck Proffit, an experienced sailor and big specialist of the multi-hull says, “the Cup signifies excellence. The reflect that this excellence will shine on Toulon, the region, the Var,…” With his team, they are in charge of designing, optimizing and organizing all of the event in collaboration with the city of Toulon and its surroundings. The president of the ACT Organization, Bruno Luisetti, specifies that the stakes are important on an athletic and technological leve. “Our challenge is to bring the public to love sailing as a team the same way they love individual sailing.”

In terms of economic aftermath for the area, this kind of event is incredible and its impact in the media is very strong; the competition is followed across the whole world and broadcast in more than 200 countries that will be able to discover the harbor of Toulon. “We all have the same goal here: to make everyone want to come and register for Toulon’s individual and group races!” concludes Bruno Luisetti.

The meetup is set for September!

In September, let’s go hiking in the Var

During one week, get out the hiking shoes and walk the hiking paths in the heart of the Var. It is an exploration that offers you a week of hiking in the Var, from Saturday, September 24 to Sunday, October 2, 2016.

Organized by the Departmental Committee of Pedestrian Hiking and their associations of hikers, the tourist offices of the department, and by Var tourism, this year the event will bring together more than 100 walks, all free and accompanied, destined for lovers of walking, athletes, amateurs of all levels, families or even botanists who want to discover new things.

100 hikes in the Var in September

The walks are often the occasion to discover a traditional and developed heritage, such as chapels, old clay ovens, mills, menhirs and even an air well.

Hike across the Verdon, Estéral, Sainte-Baume and the Maures, where out of the 200 km of coastal pathways you will discover walks between white sand and steep cliffs…

Hikes: Three levels of difficulty

To avoid any bad surprises, the hikes are divided into three categories: the easy hike is by definition for hikers of all levels (uphill hike of less than 200 m, 5 km and maximum 2-3 hours of walking on nearly flat paths.)

Salins walking trail

The medium hike is more challenging: it’s for all hikers in good physical condition (uphill hike of 200-400 m, 10-15 km and maximum 3-5 hours.)

As for the difficult hike, it is more geared towards experienced trekkers who have a good physical condition (uphill hike of 400m and more, minimum 15 km and maximum 5-8 hours of walking.)

In any scenario, it is recommended to bring waterproof shoes, food or a picnic, a large bottle of water, a warm clothing item and one for rain, a hat, and sunglasses. If you are well equipped, you will be prepared for any situation.

19 Hikes in Dracénie and Pays de Fayence

If you don’t wish to make such a big trip out of the Var department, Dracénie and the Pays de Fayence have a vast program where 19 hikes are given all throughout the week: from AIguines to Bagnols-en-Forêt (2 trails) which includes Draguignan, Villecroze (5 trails), Flayosc, Tourtour, Saint-Antonin-du-Var, Lorgues (2 trails), La Motte, Le Muy, Seillans, Sillans-la-Cascade, and Mons.

Be careful, you need to register to all walks and hikes in advance and some of them are forbidden to dogs even on a leash. Please be aware that they may be canceled if the weather conditions aren’t good or if there are warnings of fire.

A schedule of all the hikes is available in brochures in tourist offices and on www.visitvar.fr/svrp or http://var.ffrandonnee.fr/

Port Grimaud, the gem of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

Conceived by the visionary architect François Spoerry in the 1960s, Port Grimaud is a lakeside city residing at the end of the Saint-Tropez Golf. This unique architectural ensemble deeply fits into the heritage of the 20th century.

Colored facades, roman tiles, houses that blend into each other, back alleys full of charm: here a birdhouse above the porch, there a fresco with window dressing, further along a pediment inspired by ancient architecture… Port Grimaud is a unique Provençal neighborhood, perfectly integrated into the countryside of the Var, constructed in the 1960s, on a plot of land located at the hear of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. This lakeside village, dotted with shops and all necessary commodities, is spread out over 13 hectares of lake and 22 hectares of land.

houses in Port Grimaud

The houses and small buildings, each one unique, can be accessed on land and via canal. Divided into three areas, Port Grimaud houses 2,500 accommodations, most of which have their own mooring. The apartments consist of studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartments and the villas are divided into 4 types.
The smallest one, called Balandrine, offers a livable surface of 60-70 m2 and a morning of 10 x 4 m. Its price is €800,000 on average.
The Ostale and the Cassine, slightly bigger, consist of 3 bedrooms. Because they are rare, they are generally listed for more than a million euros.
Finally, the fisherman house, at 100 m2 and more, has three floors. Because of the length of its dock and its space, it goes for between €950,000 and €1,800,000.

All options told, the turn-over of accommodations put up for sale is from 1 to 3 % per year.

Apartments for sale in Port Grimaud

On average, apartments are listed according to their location and, depending on whether they are equipped with a mooring between €7,000 and €10,000 euros per square meter (they have been slowly decreasing for 2 years) and the houses are between €14,000 and €15,000 euros per square meter. The exceptional units that offer a carefully researched thought-out location, a large mooring and services of high standing can reach 17,000 euros per square meter.

The clientele is mostly made up of families and retirees searching for a way of living on the seaside with optimal security. A lot of these retirees used to be CEOs of large companies who have a large estate and prefer the discretion of Port Grimaud over the glitter of the neighboring village, Saint-Tropez.

Port Grimaud, which is a co-ownership at the interior of Grimaud, certainly imposes important charges but the quality of life there is exceptional. Security guards make their rounds 24/7 and each street possesses its own caretaker in charge of maintenance and upkeep of public spaces and private gardens.

Half of the buyers are not French. Among our clientele, there are many Brits, Germans, Belgians and Dutch, for example.

The wealthiest among them do not hesitate to ask for two or even three attached houses in order to transform them into one large unit and so obtain a larger size mooring to accommodate the increased size of the boats.

The owners only have a small possibility of exterior modifications as the specifications are very restrictive. Any project of transformation has to be submitted to the cabinet of architecture of Xavier Bohl, successor of François Spoerry. Nevertheless, each person can transform his interior the way he likes.

Port Grimaud is a great choice for those who like mixing a « pleasure purchase » and a good property investment. By becoming the owner of your property in Port Grimaud, you will be able to take part in enjoyable vacations with your feet in the water with friends or family, and most of all you will benefit from exceptional surroundings on the Côte d’Azur in a preserved and protected environment.

A day in Grimaud by Emilie who fell in love with our village

At Boutemy, we love to discuss with our clients what enchants them most about Port Grimaud. After having spent 20 years in the village, we are filled with wonder each day with these fantastic surroundings, but it is always nice to find out the little favorites of others.

That is why we wanted to let travelers do the talking on this blog. Today, we inaugurate this series of interviews with Emilie, mother and blogger who reminisces about her first visit to Grimaud:

 » We chose to visit Grimaud in the morning and Port Grimaud in the afternoon.
We went there by car because Grimaud is located only 12 kilometers from Sainte-Maxime where we were staying. To avoid the traffic along the sea, I would advise you to go by Plan-de-la-Tour. Once you arrive, you can park in the village for free which has many parking lots available, that Port Grimaud does not have.
We had taken a map including a touristic track in a store (downloadable here.)

The village is charming with its paved roads and typical Southern houses. Grimaud is home to a 15th century castle that offers a splendid view of the golf of Saint-Tropez, and an open air theater gives concerts during the summer.

15th century castle in Grimaud overlooking the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

After we had lunch in a brasserie, we jumped on the little train to Port Grimaud! This allows you to easily move along the coastline and as you can imagine, my daughter loved it.
Prices: One way: adults 5 euros – children 3 euros  or roundtrip: adults 7 euros – children 4 euros.

little train from Grimaud to Port Grimaud

Port Grimaud, called the Venice of Provence, is a maritime village. Cars are forbidden (except for residents) and you can visit the lakeside city in electric boat that is possible to drive without a license. It costs 25 euros for 30 minutes. Since we didn’t have enough time, we walked there, which was also very enjoyable. At the end of the afternoon, we took the little train back to the car and went back to our vacation rental.

We must do it again with a concert in the ramparts of the castle!

We would like to warmly thank Emilie for her help. Grimaud and Port Grimaud are ideal destinations for children who would be entertained by the different modes of transport available to travelers. We hope that she will have the chance to test the electric boats next time because little ones love to drive them (wearing their lifejackets, of course, and with the help of an adult :-).

 

Travelling with children and babies to the South of France

If you are considering a family holiday in the south of France, but are hesitant because of travelling with young children, worry no more. Here are a few useful tips on travelling with children:

1. Take your time

Children like to explore, so plan for extra time whether you are travelling by plane or car. If you are travelling by plane, make sure to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare so you aren’t stressed out by time constraints and your little one not cooperating. If you are travelling by car, make sure to make lots of stops so your children can stretch their legs, explore, and spend some energy.

2. Book ahead

Once you have children, your days of spontaneous travel and figuring out where you will sleep once you get there are behind you. Booking your accommodations ahead of time takes away the stress of looking for a place to stay while your littles ones have a meltdown because they are tired and hungry. It also allows you to choose a place to stay which will most suit your family’s needs (this house is perfect for a family vacation for instance).

3. Pack an “entertainment bag”

The easiest way to keep children happy is to keep them entertained. To this effect, pack a bag full of whatever your child enjoys. This can be colouring books, stickers, word searches, activity books, etc. Technology is a God-send when it comes to entertaining children on holiday. These days, most planes have in-house movies and TV channels to watch, which keeps many children entertained for hours at a time. However, if you are driving to your holiday destination in or around Port Grimaud, downloading cartoons, movies, and kid-friendly apps onto an iPad or other device is an extremely easy and simple way to keep your children entertained.

4. Involve them in the planning

This is especially true for older children. Asking them what they would like to do and see while on holiday makes them feel valued and more likely to enjoy the trip. Knowing that they will be seeing and doing things that interest them will also make them look forward to the trip.
If you want to know what to do with your young ones in Port Grimaud, be sure to read this article.

5. Let them pack their own bag

Again, this is especially true for older children. Allowing them to pack their own bag makes them feel that you trust them and in control of themselves. However, we recommend that you go through what your younger children have packed to make sure that everything they selected is, in fact, useful to the trip.

6. Remember: you know your children best

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that no one knows your child better than you do. No amount of tips or advice can replace your instincts when it comes to travelling with your children. You know what kind of entertainment will keep them happy. You know how long they can stay focused on one thing, and how to calm them down when they need it. Do whatever works best for your family, and enjoy a wonderful trip.

Port Grimaud videos

On this blog, we tout the joy of spending your vacation with your feet in the water in one of France’s most prized regions for a dream holiday.

Today, we wanted to make you discover Port Grimaud through the eyes and words of charmed tourists and residents.

So here is a small selection of holiday videos.


30 years of vacation in Port Grimaud! Introduction in French.


7 Tricks to Decorate Your Patio in Port Grimaud

If you are one of the lucky people whose apartment or house has a patio, you most likely enjoy spending hours on it lounging in the sun and finding the solutions to life’s problems with your friends and family.

It is therefore important to take your patio’s decoration as seriously as you do your home’s.

Here are our 7 tricks to decorate your patio in Port Grimaud without breaking the bank.sh

1. Instal a parasol or a sunshield

Sunshield Patio Port Grimaud

Found on langiusdesign.nl

These two items are essential to provide some shade to your sunny patio. Furthermore, they usually offer beautiful lively colours which will brighten up the atmosphere.

This picture demonstrates 2 affordable decoration tricks:

2. Use a sheet in lieu of a sunshield

You can also use a sheet to protect yourself from the sun and give your patio a bohemian look. The best idea is to use a sheet that has already been used or dye it… Depending on the style you want to create, you may also buy a new sheet, or an old one in a garage sale.

and…

3. Position old oriental carpets to create a gypsy patchwork on the ground

If your patio is well protected, recycle your used carpets in order to create an inviting patchwork which will bring a touch of sophistication to your patio without spending anything!

In France, we have a website called leboncoin.fr (the equivalent of Craiglist in the US) which will allow you to buy these carpets for close to nothing in an around Port Grimaud.

4. Hang decorative garlands, bunting, pompoms and Chinese lanterns

Chinese lanterns

Found on www.souslelampionblog.com/fr. Photography by Julie Abreu

These affordable decorative accessories, often made of paper, are little charming elements which will bring a festive note to your patio. Do not hesitate to install light strings which will create a calm environment once the sun goes down. To do this, you can use the lights you put on your Christmas tree! Even better, if you do not want to or cannot plug in the light strings, find some powered by solar energy.

5. Collect sand, stones, and seashells at the beach

Seashells in decoration

No matter which neighbourhood of Port Grimaud you live in, the beach is never far. To give your patio a beach atmosphere or a zen garden look, do not come back from your trip to the beach empty-handed: white sand, stones, and seashells work just fine!

6. Arrange flower pots, boxes, and vases

bright flower potsDecorate your patio thanks to plants and flowers, and draw attention to their containers. Whether it be a flower box, pot, or vase, choose them coloured, glossy, matte, made of zinc, etc. Your patio’s style is up to you!

You will certainly find what you are looking for at Rocchietta de Grimaud garden centre.

7. Instal beach chairs, tanning chairs, lounging chairs, or hammocks

hammock on patio in Port Grimaud

Found on abeautifulmess.com

Decoration stores specialized in outdoor furniture now stock very comfortable yet affordable seating. As for hammocks, you can find some for all tastes and adaptable to all patios: suspended, on a support, or to hang between 2 trees.

For custom-made patios with the best material, we suggest you contact the Rafflin carpentry store in the neighbouring village of Cogolin.

12 Tricks to Decorate Small Spaces

Most residences in Port Grimaud are not very big. As we have previously mentioned on the blog, the average surface of the properties sold last year is less than 50 square meters.

That is sufficient for a secondary residence I hear you say, and I would agree, but if you want to invite people, you may as well optimise every square centimeter to fully enjoy your idyllic vacation.

So here are our 10 tips to optimise your studio or apartment’s space in the lakeside city.

1. Favor light colours

Light colours have the virtue of expanding the space and making the walls almost disappear.

White pieces of furniture make the space come alive without crowding it, and light fabrics allow more light to come in and insure that there is a continuity with the white walls, which makes the room appear larger than it actually is.

2. Define the space’s limits with carpets

rugs small places

You have a studio? We suggest you decorate the different living spaces (bedroom side and living room side) with different coloured carpets to define them clearly, and thus give an illusion of size.

3. Choose a “strong” decorative element

Tiles studio decoration

Beautiful tiles. Found on marianneevenou.blogspot.fr

To avoid crowding a small apartment, one must avoid encumbered decoration and focus on one “strong” element that will attract all eyes.

This can be as simple as brightly coloured bed linen if you live in a studio for example, an original light fixture, or even a piece of art.

 

4. Use and abuse mirrors

Mirrors

Found on theberry.com

Mirrors are a small space’s best friend! Disperse them throughout the space (in the bedroom, the living room…) and even go for an XXL model to enlarge the room and give it an original touch. Just because the apartment is small does not mean one should settle for small pieces of furniture, quite the contrary!

5. Avoid the abundance of colours

studio: 2 colors and wood

Found on blog.westelm.com

If you cannot imagine your small spaces without strong colours, keep this principle in mind: do not mix too many colours so as to avoid giving your apartment an unfinished and crowded look. Focus on two colours, one ideally being white as we see here, to give the room a lightness, and the other colour that inspires you.

6. Remove partitions

stained-glass partition

Found on bloglovin.com

One must open the space as much as possible by avoiding obstacles and separations in small apartments, and by replacing a solid door by a French door or a stained-glass partition.

7. Dare to be transparent

transparent furniture

Found on tecnisa.com.br

Nothing is lighter than transparent furniture! Chairs, coffee table, or dinner table, completely transparent furniture or associated to metal: thanks to transparency, your decor will be as light as a feather!

8. Go for clever furniture

staircase shelf desk

Found on cdn.stylisheve.com

No space, no problem thanks to clever furniture! Liftable coffee table, sofa bed, nesting tables, office shelving, extension table… Your furniture must have many functions so it doesn’t clutter your small apartment for nothing.

9. Free the space

free space

Found on avenuelifestyle.com

We know, every single cm² has its importance in a small room, thus, ensure to free the space as much as possible by hanging shelves and by placing your furniture close to the wall: you will have more space in the centre of the room and will obtain a more fluid circulation.

10. Focus on mixed storage

Studio Port Grimaud

To open your space and avoid a suffocating aspect, alternate between open and closed storage. And if it can be white, that is even better!

Decorate your Port Grimaud Villa in Navy Colors

If you want to decorate your vacation villa in local colors, you have two possibilities: either go for a Provençal decor, or go for a navy decor with the Mediterranean’s colors.

Here are our 3 tips to make your home a peaceful Mediterranean haven.

1 – Choose a wooden, illuminated, or refreshing decor!

seaside home decoration

Inspired by fishermen’s cabins and Mediterranean houses, seaside decor can be done in many ways. When it comes to the walls, if you are not a fan of untreated wood, we suggest you favor neutral tones such as white or white paneling. This will give you more luminosity and will give your interior a more modern look. For those who prefer a seaside atmosphere, choose turquoise, sky blue, ultramarine, or even lagoon blue, which are all much softer than navy blue. For your bathroom, the addition of wall tiles, whether they are glazed stoneware or faience, will give you a beautiful washroom. On the ground, we recommend that you choose light flooring or to opt for seagrass. This decor will allow you to create a natural and relaxing atmosphere, typical of seaside homes.

2 – Choose furniture adapted to seaside decor!

If you wish to have the perfect seaside atmosphere, you will have to choose your furniture with care. We suggest you choose furniture made of natural materials: wooden chairs, wooden tables, rattan chairs, wooden shelves, etc. to enhance the natural aspect of your rooms. For a chic seaside decor, a mix of contemporary and industrial styles can also integrate itself very well to a more classical navy decor. Another option for the handymen among us is to repaint a few pieces of furniture or incorporate old industrial shelves in your interior. To complete your decor, you can associate various accessories to the furniture in order to accentuate the marine atmosphere.

3 – Accessorize your furniture by taking your inspiration from the aquatic world!

There is a multitude of accessories related to the aquatic world that can live on the walls and furniture of your home: rope rames, striped cushions, lighthouse sculptures, boat models, starfish, paintings of sailboats or shorelines, marine prints, etc. Be careful, however, because these elements must be carefully chosen if you don’t want to venture into “too much” territory. Concerning fabrics, go for linen. This material is ideal and will give you a cocooning style that will be the envy of many.

To perfect this decoration, we recommend a visit to Stéphanie le Nouveau in her eponymous boutique on l’Amarrage street in Port Grimaud.

We also recommend stores such as La Redoute or Maisons du Monde where you will find all the furniture and accessories necessary for a successful marine decor. You can order online and receive your order at home.

Port Grimaud has been labelled Pavillon Bleu

It is with much pride that Port Grimaud II has become the winner of the label, Pavillon Bleu, in May 2015.

pavillon-bleu-port-grimaud-II-may-2015

This label is the “Environmental symbol of exemplary quality”.

Created by the French Office of the Fondation for Education in Environment in Europe in 1985, each year the Pavillon Bleu pays tribute to municipalities and recreational ports who continuously contribute to a policy of sustainable tourist development.”

This year, the ecolabel has distinguished 396 beaches and 97 recreational ports. It is in the category of recreational ports that Port Grimaud II has obtained this prestigious distinction.
To achieve this, there are more than 35 criteria which need to be adhered to.

As the official site of Pavillon Bleu explains, “the named recreational ports are (…) places where the protection of the environment and marine environment is a priority. Boaters must have access to careening areas without emissions in a natural environment, waste water recovery systems by boats but also to special waste recovery zones. Just like the municipalities, the Pavillon Bleu recreational ports propose environmental activities to heighten awareness to boaters and visitors around the fragility of the environment.”

With its well thought-out construction, exceptional architecture, and a flourishing village, Pavillon Bleu (the municipality of Grimaud) and the lakeside town of Port Grimaud have subscribed to a sustainable tourism policy which enables the preservation of an exceptional environment while offering its visitors and residents dream holidays.

Les îles d’Or

Les îles d’Or, or ‘The Golden Islands’ as they are sometimes called, is a name given to a group of four islands located just off the coast of South-East France, right in the Mediterranean. The ease of access to the islands coupled with the fact that they are quite far removed from the glitzy lifestyle that  the French Riviera boasts, results in Les îles d’Or being  a popular destination for many tourists who want a bit of a break from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of city life.

As I said before; there are actually four islands that make up Les îles d’Or. You will however only be able to access three of them. One of the islands, which is incidentally the smallest one, cannot be accessed at this time. This means that you will see no trips to Les îles du Bagaud.

Porquerolles

Porquerolles

This is the largest island in the group. It is also one of the most popular amongst tourists as it is the easiest to reach from France. Around 80% of this island has been designated as a national park. This means that most of Porquerolles is currently undeveloped. This makes the place absolutely fantastic for those want to walk through nature. At the south of the island you will find gorgeous, looming cliffs. The north is where you will be able to relax on the beaches. There is a single village on Porquerolles which is a true delight to explore. I do suggest you check out the church whilst walking around the village. It is stunning. A large proportion of the island is dedicated to vineyards. If you are heading here in the summer then you may be able to view the Jazz Festival that takes place each and every year.

Port-Cros

Port-Cros

Port-Cros : Crédit photo Franco Caruzzo

This island is tiny. At the moment the vast majority of the island is dedicated to being a national park. It does have quite a history though. For example; there is some evidence that a Roman colony used to call this island home. The island used to regularly come under attack from pirates too. As a result you may spot a few defences peppered around the area. Port-Cros also played a major role when the Allies took back Provence during World War II. If you are going to travel to Port-Cros, and I suggest you do, then make sure you have a camera in tow as you will want to take a lot of photographs.

Ile du Levant

Île du Levant

This island is slightly different from the other two. For a start; it is a military island (the other two islands are mostly privately owned). This means that you may not always be able to get onto the island. The village located on the island is mainly a nudist colony too. In fact; it was the first dedicated ‘nudist village’ in the world, so if that sort of thing offends you then you may want to steer clear. Being nude is actually expected in many areas. The area is quite a relaxed place and it does give off a good vibe, but you really do want to steer clear if you are not completely into the ‘nudist’ world.

Discover Porquerolles

For those of you who stay in Port Grimaud for the holidays, we recommend you take a trip to Porquerolles.

Porquerolles is one of four islands which make up the group of islands known as Les Iles d’Hyères, or ‘The Golden Islands’ as many people seem to refer them as. Porquerolles is actually the largest of the four islands. It is also the closest island to France. This makes it incredibly popular amongst the tourist crowd. If you are heading to Porquerolles thinking that it has all the glitz that the French Riviera boasts then think again. The vast majority of Porquerolles lacks any real development (we will come to the reasons as to why soon). This means that the island is mainly suited for those who want to be at ‘one with nature’ and just explore a beautiful Mediterranean Island.

wild nature in Porquerolles

The most recent history of the island began back in 1820. It was at this time that the village on the island, which still exists to this day, was established. The village grew at a fairly steady rate over the years. It is still fairly small (only 200 people are permanent residents of the island), but it does boast a rather beautiful church and lighthouse. In 1912 a gentleman known as Francois Joseph Fournier purchased the island for his wife. It was at this time about 500 acres of the island became dedicated to vineyards. The wine that was produced on this island was the first to be classed as ‘vin des Côtes de Provence’, and as any wine-lover will tell you; that is a pretty decent wine.

The French wanted to preserve the beauty of the island. As a result they purchased 80% of the island in 1971. They then created a national park out of it (the other half of the national park is on the nearby island of Port-Cros). Absolutely zero development is allowed in the national park area. This means that those who visit the island will be able to experience the true beauty of it. There are gorgeous forests to walk through, cliffs to get stunning panoramic views from, and gorgeous sandy beaches to relax on. This area is truly beautiful.

Porquerolles by night

Now just because the village is small does not mean that there is not a lot to do. As mentioned at the start the island of Porquerolles tends to have a rather laid-back feel to it. There is no hustle and bustle here, even in the high tourist seasons. The culture is very different from mainland France. To me, Porquerolles has an almost ‘classic’ French feel to it. There are fantastic places to eat, wonderful places to drink, and some beautiful scenery to feast your eyes upon. If you head to the island during the summer then you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the ‘Jazz á Porquerolles’, a Jazz festival that has been held on the island each and every summer since 2010. It has gone from strength to strength too with some pretty decent jazz musicians taking the stage throughout the festival.

Culinary specialities in Provence

Holidays are the ideal time to discover the culinary specialities of our region and to treat yourself.

Perhaps you know of them and have even bought some in your own supermarket, but, believe me, there is nothing like a local tasting. A good, homemade ratatouille, with the vegetables all cooked separately, will never have the same taste of Provence elsewhere.

Many of our specialities come from the sea and it is today interesting to note that certain of our most iconic and sought-after dishes were originally considered as dishes of poor fishermen.

If you spend a few days here, the following are a few dishes to try.

Bouillabaisse

bouillabaisse

This is definitely the most iconic dish of the south of France and the ultimate Marseillaise speciality.

Its name comes from Provençal Occitan: from « bolh » for « boiling » and « abaiss » for «lowering», meaning lowering the fire, because this was how bouillabaisse was traditionally prepared.

This is a fish stew which is cooked at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes before continuing to cook on a low heat. The stew consists of at least 4 fish (monkfish, Saint-Pierre, redfish, red mullet , vive and roucaou) and is served with potatoes and croutons, or, even better, slices of garlic bread and rouille (our local mayonnaise).

Daube

daube provençale

Daube, just like bouillabaisse, is a family dish which is prepared the day before. It is most often prepared with braised beef and cooked with red wine, onions, celery, carrots, garlic and mixed herbs. It is delicious served with potatoes or gnocchi.

Sea urchins

sea urchins Provence

Tasting sea urchins is an institution in the region, and whether you want to taste them for the first time or you are already a connoisseur, we invite you to atttend the sea urchin festivals, which are organised every year. They have a friendly vibe and they take place over several weekends in Sausset les Pins, Carry le Rouet and Fos sur Mer.

You can also find sea urchins on the menu at many restaurants. They are eaten like oysters : by the dozen of half dozen.

Boiled eggs with truffles

truffles

This absolutely divine dish links a very basic food such as the boiled egg with our most famous mushroom, the truffle. This is all it takes to delight the tastebuds; it is sometimes in the simple things that the best tastes are revealed.

Find all the lastest news on the truffle on this website.

In Boutemy, we like to have lunch with our restaurateur friends from Port Grimaud. We recommend with enthusiasm Café Telline, which is situated on the marketplace (the telline is a delicious shellfish that you should definitely taste during your holidays in the Mediterranean)

The restaurant is open throughout the year and the chef likes to cook truffle, venison and vegetables.

We also recommend the la Tartane, 8 rue de l’Octogone for his pan-fried Saint-Jacques.

Abbeys and Priories near Port Grimaud

While Port Grimaud is a dream destination for lovers of sea and sail, some of you will enjoy recharging in the abbeys and other religious places only a few dozen kilometers from Port Grimaud.

Cannet-des-Maures (45 minute drive from Port Grimaud)

church saint michel cannet des maures

Old Cannet-des-Maures sits on a rocky ridge that dominates the valley facing the Maures mountains and offers a beautiful view.

The old Saint-Michel priory dates back to the 11th century when it was occupied by Benedictines. The apse and two apse chapels are classic and very simple as a whole. On the portal keystone, you will notice a small decoration with two heads and a Chi-Rho. The bell tower, built in the 17th century with a campanile, brightens up the building.

Chartreuse de la Verne (45 minute drive from Port Grimaud)

monastère de la verne

Located in the Collobrières commune, Chartreuse de la Verne is reached by a long, winding road. It is surrounded by a very dense forest of many species including magnificent chestnut trees.

Chartreuse de la Verne’s history is similar to that of many other abbeys: fires and successive looting. It felt secure being so elevated, but it was not spared.

When donations flowed in the 12th century, lords then became jealous and ruthless with the Carthusians (imprisonment, punishment).

Religious wars, the Revolution and selling off some of its beautiful stones left Chartreuse in a sad state. But the building rehabilitation program (12th to 17th century) restored its lustre.

 

Roquebrune-sur-Argens (48 minute drive from Port Grimaud)

Leaving Roquebrune toward the sea, route D7 passes the old Saint-Pierre chapel, which has a rectangular shape and beautiful apse. Here, there was a priory that belonged to Saint-Victor de Marseille in 1043. This Romanesque structure is well-maintained and one of the oldest in the region.

 

Le Thoronet (53 minute drive from Port Grimaud)

le thoronet

This abbey is one of the best known and most admired in south-east France (along with Senanque and Silvacane).

Monks often chose the site of an abbey based on the proximity to abundant water and forest. This is the case with Thoronet, where water was bountiful and used in the lovely sink, kitchens, mill, latrines, and garden.

The buildings are made of different-sized stones, but with a dry stone method that interlocks and fits them together perfectly to prevent expansion. It is a truly remarkable construction. This may be the abbey which leaves you with the greatest sense of power, reverence, simplicity, and purity. By the end of the 12th century, the architect, or more likely the abbot, was especially gifted at predicting the path of light and sound in the abbey-church. In fact, the acoustics are exceptional.

We hope that visiting these holy places will help you discover the immense historical and religious heritage of the Department of the Var.