The beginning of the work, 1st tranche :

barre Port Grimaud
       " In designing Port-Grimaud, I wanted to rediscover certain constants of scale, the permanence of vernacular architecture that I had admired during my travels in Greece. I also wanted to state unambiguously that reference to traditional and regional architecture can lead to a creation and not to a pastiche..."  F. SPOERRY.

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Grand'Rue and Place du 14 juin :

       Work began in June 1966 and lasted until 1968.

       This tranche consisted of :
             - 75 houses along the canal
             - 40 Apartments.
       They were delivered in July and August 1967. Then were added :
             - 130 flats and studios on the beach,
             - 30 commercial premises under the arcades and on the Place des 6 Canons (named after the fountain with its 6 small cannon barrels through which water flows).
       They were completed in the spring of 1968.

Place des 6 canons à PORT GRIMAUD
The Place des 6 Canons under construction.

Place des 6 canons à PORT GRIMAUD
The fountain seems to stand in the middle of the square...

Plan de la fontaine
The Place des 6 Canons owes its name to the 6 cannon barrels from which the water of the fountain flows...
However, the cannons were not included in the initial plan drawn up by the architect.
They were recovered by chance and integrated perfectly into the fountain : the name of the square was found...

La Grand Rue en construction PORT GRIMAUD
The Grand'Rue emerges from the ground starting from the 'canal' side (photo taken in October 66)

La Grand Rue en construction PORT GRIMAUD
The first house under construction will serve, once finished, as a 'model' house... (photo taken on 28/02/67)

La Grand Rue en construction PORT GRIMAUD
One month later, the work had progressed well... it was necessary to hurry to finish this section to sell it as quickly as possible and to bring in some cash... (photo taken on 29/03/67)

La Grand Rue en construction PORT GRIMAUD
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The basic frame :

       The basic 4-metre grid on which the vast majority of the houses in Port-Grimaud were built in the early days corresponded to a berth for the majority of medium-sized ships of the time.
       That was before the pleasure boat explosion. Nowadays, some boats find it difficult to find a home of their size...
       The same problem applies to the length of the boats: In 1967, 10m was a large size for a boat. Nowadays you have to reckon with lengths two to three times as long. Also, in 2000, the size of the moorings was revised upwards in the whole water area.

       The architect François SPOERRY destined his village to the fishermen and their boat, the traditional 'pointu' that had to be put in dry dock in winter, and failing that, in his dining room :

       This is why the floor of the living room of the first houses was consolidated to be able to support the weight of a large boat !

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Vue aerienne des travaux
aerial view of the construction site starting in November 1966.

vue aérienne du chantier de PORT GRIMAUD
...and 5 months later...

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6 canons port grimaud

Place des 6 Canonos   Place des 6 Canons

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1st Model House :

1ere maison témoin de port grimaud

       The first large red house on the right-hand side of the Grand'Rue, with its large street-side garden and 8m long quay, was used for several months as a 'show house'. Its first owners, arriving from the West Indies, were the parents of the popular and famous singer of the 60s and 70s, 'Philippe LAVIL', Mrs. and Mr. Durand de la Villejegu du Fresnay.
For the occasion a small improvised party was hosted by the singer himself..

barre Port Grimaud

Place du 14 Juin :

       In the extension of the Grand'rue, the Place du 14 Juin was built. The central area hosted many games of pétanque with several personalities of the time leaving the Place des Lice de Saint Tropez to come and compete in this brand new space...

Place du 14 juin en 1967
La place du 14 juin le 29/03/67.

Place du 14 juin en67
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       a small bridge was planned to go from the Place du 14 Juin to the Capitainerie... But the idea was abandoned...

Esquisse de l'hotel GIRAGLIA

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       The new town needed a 'top of the range' hotel. On the seafront, with a swimming pool, this Andalusian-inspired hotel was of capital importance for the promotion of Port Grimaud.

Esquisse de l'hotel GIRAGLIA
The project of the hotel a bit far from the final result...

Start of work on the 'Giraglia' on 05/10/67

The 'Giraglia' shipyard on 05/04/68

The hotel finished in summer 68

       Work began in autumn 1967 and lasted until May 1968. The hotel, with 50 rooms, opened in July 1968.

1 April 1968 :

giraglia port grimaud

       For the 1st of April 1968, the workers of the building site, wanting to make a 'big' joke, had hoisted the Austin Mini of Mrs LAMBERT, the new manager of the 'Giraglia', on the roof of the hotel...

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Plantations :

plantes port grimaud
       The greenery must have been very present in the emerging streets.

       In the winter of 67,   the company  Guyomar, a nurseryman in Toulon, was commissioned to plant plane trees in the Place du 14 Juin as well as all the rosebushes and climbing plants in the Grand'Rue.

       The plane trees did not last long in this beautiful square and were removed after a few months.
Les jardinets
      At the very beginning, the gardens in front of each house entrance were open to the street...

      But with the influx of tourists, not always respectful, who sometimes entered these gardens to take photos, or threw away papers or empty bottles, or left their dogs to relieve themselves anywhere, the vast majority of new owners fenced off their gardens with wooden fences.

      The aesthetics of the street lost in beauty and the owners gained in tranquillity...

6 canons port grimaud
Photo of the Place des 6 Canons taken from the garden of the show house.
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Protecting the privacy of residents :

       Since the beginnings of the lake city, attempts have been made in vain to find effective measures to protect the necessary privacy of each co-owner from a summer invasion of visitors, without hampering the prosperity of local businesses.

       Already on April 10, 1971, when the Hotel du Port was not yet open, the Church was still in the process of being built, and the housing estate was still under construction, an information meeting for the co-owners was held at the Maison Commune, during which the following was acknowledged " as fundamental for the future of PORT GRIMAUD, that all necessary measures be taken to protect the character of a residential pleasure area where the search for calm, a certain lifestyle of good company, and respect for aesthetic values would be accepted by everyone as a principle of common life."

       And there was talk even then of banning organised groups "such as tour groups by coach" or holiday camps " at least during high season or holiday periods when most owners are present"...

       Better still, in order to filter people entering Port Grimaud through the security guards, it was envisaged that, in addition to proper dress, all residents could " present a small, very discreet, enamelled metal badge to be worn as a charm, ring, button or brooch"...
       Another proposal, very surprising at the time, since yachting was still in its infancy, "All boats over 10m must stop at the Harbour Master's Office"...

       Thus, from the beginnings of the lakeside town to the present day, the same problems of neighbourliness between tourists and owners still remain for certain residents who would like to close Port Grimaud to visitors, and the same proposals resurface on a recurring basis...
       But the architect conceived PORT GRIMAUD as a village with administrations (post office, town hall annex), an ecumenical church and local shops that could not live without the contribution of visitors...

Vue aérienne des travaux
The Grand'Rue is finished as well as the Place des 6 Canons. The Giraglia hotel is still to be built, the beach is still to be developed... and the second one is progressing rapidly...

  THE WORK of François SPOERRY...

© Yves Lhermitte 2023   Reproduction prohibited without permission...