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About Grasse

French Riviera, France

Lying some 20km to the north-west of Cannes and the Mediterranean coast, Grasse is probably best known for perfume and is considered to be the world’s perfume capital. Perfume has been the primary source of work in the area from the end of the eighteenth century and even today over sixty companies have a combined staff of 3,500 employees and the industry indirectly employs in excess of 10,000 people in the area. Though flowers are still grown around Grasse which are used in the creation of certain perfumes, the change in this industry now sees only 30 tonnes of flowers produced per year, compared to over 70 years ago when the annual harvest exceeded 5,000 tonnes. However some of those flowers still grown today include roses grown specifically by Chanel.

A short history of Grasse

Grasse did not hold any position of importance as a town until the 12th century when it became well known for the production of leather goods, an industry aided by the canal which ran through the town, but one which was blighted with the smells associated with tanning leather. It was as a consequence of this smell that flowers were grown in and around the town in an attempt to mask the smell and which provided ample supply of raw natural oils. A dramatic change took place in the tanning industry during the 16th century when essences were added to tanned leather to provide a more acceptable scent and thereafter Grasse came to the fore both with regard to tanning and also perfume. When the tanning industry declined in the 17th century, Grasse continued to prosper as the perfume industry flourished.

tourist attractions in Grasse

Set far inland, the attractions of Grasse differ from many of those associated with coastal towns on the Riviera. The major attraction, unsurprisingly, is the perfume industry and three of the industries major producers provide guided tours of their perfumeries where the whole manufacturing process is explained and the opportunity to create your own perfume or eau de toilette. These firms are Galinard, Molinard and Fragonard, with Molinard well-known for their perfume bottles being created by the world famous glass design house, Lalique, while Fragonard is also home to the Fragonard Musée de Parfum which covers the history of perfume over the last 5,000 years. The town is also home to the Muséed’Art et Histoire de Provence, while the cathedral is one of the towns biggest attractions after perfume, and which contains many impressive paintings, including three by Rubens.

festivals and events in Grasse

Asides from the countrywide Fête Nationale on the 14th of July, there are two other principal Fetes in Grasse during the year. The first is the Expo Rose which takes place each Spring, usually at the beginning of May and this magnificent floral display includes more than 50,000 ‘pink stars’ in the form of many hundreds of bouquets. The day celebrates the rose and takes place in and around Grasse, including Grasse cathedral, the CoursHonoreCresp, the Palais des Congrès and in the gardens and interior of the Villa-Musée Fragonard. The second is the Fête du Jasmin Grasse which is a complete celebration of the Jasmine flower which was, and is so important to the perfume industry and which takes place in August.


The further in to the hills you go the more the gastronomy changes from seafood to ‘charcuterie’ or put more simply, meat. The Provençale menu comes in many guises and the markets in each town along the French Riviera tend to reflect upon different traditions and recipes. Of course there is one classic ingredient of most Mediterranean and Provençale food, and that is olive oil and the Domaine de la Royrie is a perfect place, located just outside grasse, to take a tour of the olive groves and learn all about the production of olive oil. Of course there are also local dishes such as Lou Fassum which are stuffed cabbage leaves, squash blossom fritters which use the actual squash flower itself, and La Fougassette which is a pastry scented and flavoured with orange blossom.

recommended restaurants in Grasse
La Bastide St. Antoine 48 av. Henri-Dunant F - 06130 Grasse
Phone: +33 4 93 70 94 94
Lou Fassum 381 rte de Plascassier F - 06130 Grasse
Phone: +33 4 93 60 14 44
Le Patti pl. Patti F - 06130 Grasse
Phone: +33 4 93 36 01 00
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The Frogs House

Looking for an unforgettable experience in a typical French village, 15km from Nice and the French Riviera ? Come to enjoy our 7 cosy bedrooms with views to the sea and over the surrounding hills.

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