Journey to a beautiful hilltop town that fascinates with its museums, cathedral and perfume-making heritage that is hundreds of years old.
Grasse is a beautiful town in the hills of Provence that lays claim to being the perfume capital of the world. The links with the fragrance industry go back centuries. Dotted among the 17th and 18th-century buildings of the narrow streets are several perfume companies. Learn about the history and technology of perfume making, see fields of jasmine and lavender cultivated by perfumiers and check out the historical buildings.
The scents of Grasse are due to its microclimate, which encourages the growth of flowers that were once used in great numbers to make perfumes. To learn more about this and the history of perfume, go on a tour of the International Perfume Museum. Visit its gardens which have many plants known for their medicinal and aromatic properties. Continue on the scent trail with free tours of the perfumeries of Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard.
Delicious smells are only part of Grasse’s cultural attractions. At the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence, browse exhibitions on everyday life in the Provence region since prehistoric times. Among the items on display are archeological finds, antique furniture and bathtubs and bidets that were used by the upper classes in the 18th century.
Enjoy a walk through the narrow lanes and alleys that every now and again lead into small squares. Find your way to one of the town’s landmark buildings, the 12th-century Grasse Cathedral. Inside are three paintings by the Flemish Baroque painter Rubens. Look for the 18th-century religious painting The Washing of the Feet by the Grasse-born French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
The gorgeous countryside of Grasse with its woods and vast expanses of flowers also hosts good golfing ground. Challenge yourself on the greens and fairways of Claux Amic Golf Club and Saint Donat Golf Club.
The flower fields, culture and perfume-making heritage of Grasse are approximately 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) inland from Cannes. Arrive by car, or by taking the bus or train from the glamorous French Riviera city.