The town of Grasse, located in the South of France, is known as the home of modern perfumery. Grasse is home to a multitude of Perfumeries which cultivate their flowers and plants in the scenic fields and harvest them to create unique and iconic scents.
A trip to Grasse is a must for anyone visiting the French Riviera, as it is situated just north of Cannes. The town is small enough to enjoy on a day trip, or, the quaint streets, and wonderful scenery can be enjoyed on a leisurely long weekend. We have compiled a list of five must-do things that you can do on a visit to the wonderful town of Grasse!
- International Perfume Museum and its gardens
A trip to Grasse would be incomplete without visiting the famed Perfume Museum. It is the only Perfume Museum in the world and explores the history of perfume from antiquity to the modern day. The Museum has a wide collection of objects, such as Marie-Antoinette’s travel case, as well as pieces from the Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras.
Equally, impressive are the gardens of the Museum, which boast a huge array of plants and flowers and give visitors an insight into the horticulture of the region. Depending on when you visit, you can see the beautiful jasmine, lavender, roses, violets, and mimosas.
2. Tour a perfumery
A visit to Grasse, the home of French perfumery, would be incomplete without visiting one of the many perfume factories, to gain an insight into how the botanicals of the region are turned into world renowned scents. There are three factories in Grasse that offer tours. Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard each offer regular tours to teach perfume-lovers how fragrances are created. All three perfumeries offer free tours of their old factories as well as current production lines. Fragonard and Malinard also demonstrate their soap making processes as an extra treat! Tours are free and take place regularly every day.
3. Make your own perfume
After learning about the history and production of perfume in the perfume capital of the world, it would be a shame not to make your very own fragrance! Molinard, Galimard and Fragonard all offer workshops where you can create your own scent. Molinard offers a variety of classes, from a simpler taster for beginners, which include a 30ml bottle, to a more luxurious experience including champagne, refreshments and a 90 ml bottle. Galimard and Fragonard each offer 1 course that includes a 90ml bottle of perfume.
4. Visit the Cathedral- Notre-Dame-du-Puy
The Cathedral was built in the 12th century and is home to some of the most stunning art in Grasse, featuring three works of the Flemish artist Rubens. The Cathedral is also home to paintings by the Rococo French artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who was born in Grasse and returned to the town after the French Revolution. Fragonard’s only religious painting is featured in the Cathedral. One piece, by the Grasse-born photographer Charles Negre, is also in the Cathedral.
5. The Taste-and-Scent Experience
No must-do experience would be complete without a restaurant recommendation. The perfect place to round off any trip to Grasse is the Provencal Restaurant Ici T’es Ailleurs, managed by Alexander Nejman and his partner, Adèle. The concept of the restaurant is to present dishes that marry flavours and scents, and the restaurant grows its own bio vegetables in a private farm to ensure only the best seasonal produce is used.
To learn more about the restaurant as well as Alex and Adèle’s passion for fragrance and food, our interview will be available on The Perfume Culture book released on 22 March 2022, in Lyon, France.