Grasse is a town and episcopal see in southeastern France.
It is a commune of the Alpes-Maritimes département (of which it is a sub-prefecture),
on the French Riviera.
read full wikipedia reference about Grasse, France
GRASSE , 16km inland from Cannes and with some stunning views over
the Côte, is the world capital of parfumiers and has been
for almost 300 years. These days it likes to flaunt itself, promoting
its perfumed image as a chic eighteenth-century village with
a medieval heart surrounded by hectares of scented flowers. Making
perfumes is presented as a mysterious process, an alchemy, turning
the soul of the flower into a liquid of luxury and desire, and
the industry is at pains to keep quiet about modern innovations
Grasse is the official
starting point of the Route Napoléon but is equally easy
to visit as a day-trip from the coast.
Vieux Grasse , despite
its touristy shops and full range of restaurants, is surprisingly
humble, a working-class enclave where lines of washing festoon
the high, narrow streets - rates of pay for the pickers of raw
ingredients for perfume essences are notoriously low. Inhabitants
say it's like a village where everyone knows each other, and
out of season that's certainly the atmosphere that prevails.
Place aux Aires , at the
top of the old town, is the main meeting point for all and sundry
and the venue for the daily flower and vegetable market . It
is ringed by arcades of different heights and the elegant wrought-iron
balcony of the Hôtel Isnard at no. 33, and at one time
was the exclusive preserve of the tanning industry. At the opposite
end of Vieux Grasse lie the cathedral - containing various paintings,
including three by Rubens and a wondrous triptych by the sixteenth-century
Niçois painter Louis Bréa - and the bishop's palace
, now the Hôtel de Ville, both built in the twelfth century.
A museum you might like
to take a quick flit through is the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
de Provence , 2 rue Mirabeau (Jan-Oct & Dec daily except
Tues 10am-12.30pm & 2-5.30pm), housed in a luxurious town
house commissioned by Mirabeau's sister for her social entertainment
duties. As well as all the gorgeous fittings and the original
eighteenth-century kitchen, the historical collection adds a
nice eclectic touch. It includes wonderful eighteenth- to nineteenth-century
faïence from Apt and Le Castellet, Mirabeau's death mask,
a tin bidet and six prehistoric bronze leg bracelets. The fascinating
Musée International de la Parfumerie , 8 place du Cours
(Jan-Oct & Dec daily except Tues 10am-12.30pm & 2-5.30pm),
displays perfume bottles from the ancient Greeks to the present
via Marie-Antoinette and has a reconstruction of a perfume factory
with a little test you can do on identifying fragrances. The
guided tours are highly recommended.
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN FRANCE