Grasse Travel Guide, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Grasse is a French town of Provence, located in the department of Alpes-Maritimes in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Since the 17th century, the city is considered the world capital of perfume. It obtained three flowers in the Contest of cities and villages in bloom and was promoted “City of Art and History”. It is also “Internet City”.

Grasse is a town of about 50,000 inhabitants located in the interior of the Côte d’Azur, about 15 km from Cannes and 30 km from Nice. At an altitude varying between 100 and 1000 m, Grasse is made up of a town center and several neighborhoods or hamlets. Its positioning between sea and mountains, its relative distance from the coast, its town center and its perfume shops, the proximity of large towns and infrastructures make it a very pleasant place to live, and a popular tourist town.

History
In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in the tanning of leather. Once tanned, the leathers are often exported to Genoa or Pisa with whom Grasse had made a commercial alliance. Several centuries of this intense activity witnessed numerous technical advances in the tannery industries. Grasse leathers acquired a reputation for high quality. But the leather smells bad, something that does not please the nobility who wears gloves in this matter. It was Galimard, a tanner in Grasse who had the idea of creating scented leather gloves in “scent baths” (rose water, spices), according to the oriental method. He offers a pair to Catherine de Medici who is seduced by the gift. From then on, the tanners swelled the skins of leather and the perfumed glove spread to the Court and throughout high society. He made Grasse the world capital of perfume, supplanting Montpellier, whose Faculty of Pharmacy was the source of the creation of ointments and perfumes. In the 17th century is the heyday of “Glovers Perfumers” who develop the “glove frangipane”, “Provencal”.

Middle Ages
In 875, Provence joined the Kingdom of France and Boson, the new king, made him sign an act of allegiance on October 15, 879. Grasse refuses to sign it and therefore detaches himself from Provence. It is then attached to the Kingdom of Lombardy under the reign of Charles II the Fat in 879, then to the Kingdom of Burgundy Jurane under Rudolph II, to the Kingdom of Arles under Rudolph III. Devastated by the Arabs, Grasse and its region were reconquered by the princes of Arles who gave the city and half of the territory of the Bishopric of Antibes as a fiefdom to Rodoard who had helped this liberation and founder of the house of Grasse, lords of Antibes.

The feudal subjugation of the city was to be short-lived. From 1138 we see that Raimond de Grasse dealing with the Republic of Genoa, signs a protocol in the name of Antibois alone without making any mention of the people of Grasse. The people of Grasse abolished serfdom and the town was run by consuls elected for one year, four in number. They represent the city to other republics, lords, neighboring cities, the bishop, they have the judicial power, although assisted by “judex consulum”, they organize the defense of the city, set taxes and appoint city officials.

In 1171, the Consulate signed a political and commercial treaty with Genoa for a period of 29 years, the first in a long series that lasted nearly three centuries. In 1179, it was with Pisa that Grasse signed a treaty for 26 years. The city likes to trade with independent cities like Genoa by exporting or importing canvas, leather, wheat, raw hides, tanned hides, wine and cattle. Its new freedom made flourish the trade with the neighboring cities which sought to conclude alliances with the Consuls.

In 1250, Grasse also became the capital of Viguerie. Grasse obtains privileges from the Count of Provence, then from the Kings and Queens of France: freedom of trade, freedom of inheritance, right of affouage and pasture in neighboring places, tax cuts and exemptions, freedom of culture and breeding, right to own a bell, judicial indulgences, charity to the poor of Grasse. The royal family thus showed its gratitude for Grasse’s loyalty to his cause until Louis XIV, who respected these franchises less. The craft of the tannery is the main economic and commercial activity.

The 14th century is the religious building new monasteries and enlarge the ramparts to protect. Behind these new fortifications, new houses are being created around the Place aux Aires. The population is growing. In 1321, Grasse had 6,000 inhabitants. On October 25, 1384 Foulques d’Agout, Seneschal of Provence, donated goods to the town of Grasse as a reward for his attachment to the cause of the House of Anjou, and made the castles.

At the end of the 14th century, the city council is organized and operates regularly; it is the Ordinary Council, Consilium ordinarium. It has twenty members: they are lawyers, notaries, wealthy landowners, a few merchants and artisans. Notaries and people with an office must renounce their functions while they are admitted to the Council.

The 15th century is the scene of many misfortunes. To protect Provence from the murderous troops of King Alfonso of Anjou, the Grasse people fight and weaken. Then, two plague epidemics in 1451 and 1470 killed a third of the population. In 1482, Louis XI enlarged his Kingdom and annexed Provence. Grasse becomes French.

Modern times
During the Renaissance, Grasse suffered the invasion of Charles Quint, during which the city was set on fire and pillaged. In 1589, Grasse took a stand in favor of Henri IV and his edict of Nantes in the wars of religion, which drew the wrath of the Baron de Vins, who laid siege to the city for eight days. Grasse surrendered, the First Consul Antoine Taulane and 17 other Grasse people sacrificed themselves to save the city, but the baron was killed.

During the 17th century, Grasse rises. It is the apogee of the tannery industry, but also the beginning of that of perfume and “scented gloves” Grasse is known in the Enlightenment for the crucial intervention of the naval troops of Admiral de Grasse, descended from the line of the Counts of Grasse, in the victory of the United States against the British colonists. It was aboard La Ville de Paris that he won the Chesapeake victory.

Jean Honoré Fragonard, a child of Grasse, became “painter to the King” under pressure from the Marquise de Pompadour. Hervé Court de Fontmichel in his work “Le Pays de Grasse” writes that at the end of the 18th century the extremely closed high society of Grasse included an aristocratic minority of feudal origin and a majority of families, nobles or notables, from the world of business. These families live in very beautiful homes, worldly life develops in elegance and pomp. On the eve of the revolution, the salons of the Marquise de Cabris, sister of Mirabeau and of Mgr de Prunières, Bishop of Grasse, will be particularly brilliant. The Place aux Aires is embellished with the construction of a fountain.

French Revolution
Shortly before the French Revolution, agitation rose. In addition to the fiscal problems present for several years, the harvest of 1788 was bad and the winter of 1788-89 very cold. The election of 1789 General States had been prepared by those of the States of Provence 1788 and January 1789, which had contributed to emphasize class political opposition and cause a stir.

Grasse is then a city of opportunist and commercial tradition, globally opposed to the Revolution. “The artisans of Grasse are divided into two factions whose leaders belong to the merchant bourgeoisie and who compete for town hall and the street throughout the revolution. Even if they seem to be more numerous in the Republican Party, the majority of this merchant bourgeoisie participates in the revolutionary movement against-. However the Grasse imprisoned for having shown their hostility to the Revolution and a guillotine installed where thirty executed “enemies of the people”.

Contemporary period
The 19th century, however, is a century of prosperity. The perfume is developing and Grasse becomes “World Capital of Perfumes”. It opens outwards and large factories appear, a sign of adhesion to the Industrial Revolution. It is also the beginning of tourism: we appreciate the quality of life, the landscapes and the climate which reigns there. Princess Pauline stayed there in 1811 and gave her name to the garden where she liked to rest. Wealthy foreigners build magnificent villas and the city is enriched with various curiosities. When the departments were created in 1790, Grasse belonged to the Var, of which it was even the capital from 1793 to 1795. Its arrondissement was detached from it in 1860 to form, with the County of Nice which had just been attached to France, the Alpes-Maritimes.

In the 20th century, Grasse retains its tourist reputation and the fragrance industry is transformed and modernized.

Perfume
Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century. Grasse is the centre of the French perfume industry and is known as the world’s perfume capital (la capitale mondiale des parfums). Many “noses” are trained or have spent time in Grasse to distinguish over 2,000 kinds of scent. Grasse produces over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). This industry turns over more than 600 million euros a year.

Grasse’s particular microclimate encouraged the flower farming industry. It is warm and sufficiently inland to be sheltered from the sea air. There is an abundance of water, thanks to its situation in the hills and the 1860 construction of the Siagne canal for irrigation purposes. The town is 350 m (1,148.29 ft) above sea level and 20 km (12 mi) from the coast (Côte d’Azur). Jasmine, a key ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to southern France by the Moors in the 16th century. Twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are now harvested in Grasse annually. There are numerous old ‘parfumeries’ in Grasse, such as Galimard, Molinard and Fragonard, each with tours and a museum.

The trade in leather and tanning work developed during the twelfth century around the small canal that runs through the city. This activity produced a strong unpleasant odor. At the time of the Renaissance perfume manufacturers began production of gloves, handbags and belt (clothing), to meet the new fashion from Italy with the entourage of Queen Catherine de Medici.

The countryside around the city began to grow fields of flowers, offering new scents from the city. In 1614, the king recognized the new corporation of “glovers perfumers”. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the perfumery was experiencing a very important development. Leading companies dating from this period includes oldest French perfumerie and third oldest parfumerie in Europe Galimard established in 1747. Introduction of new production methods turned perfume making into a real industry that could adapt to new market demands.

In the nineteenth century, the raw materials began to be imported from abroad. During the twentieth century the creation of synthetic products brought the democratization & affordability of perfumes and their spin-offs; (shampoos and deodorants, cream (pharmaceutical) and detergents, food flavoring for cookies, ice cream and dairy products, beverages, convenience foods, confectionery, preserves and syrups). In 1905, six hundred tons of flowers were harvested while in the 1940s, five thousand tons were produced annually. However, in early 2000, production was less than 30 tons for all flowers combined.

Historical activity
In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in leather tanning. Once tanned, the hides were often exported to Genoa or Pisa, cities that shared a commercial alliance with Grasse. Several centuries of this intense activity witnessed many technological advances within tanning industries. The hides of Grasse acquired a reputation for high quality. But the leather smelled badly, something that did not please the glove wearing nobility. This is when Galimard, a tanner in Grasse came up with the idea of scented leather gloves. He offered a pair of scented gloves to Catherine de Medici who was seduced by the gift. Thereafter, the product spread through the Royal Court and high society, and this made a worldwide reputation for Grasse.

The seventeenth century became the heyday of “Glovers Perfumers’. However, high taxes on leather and competition from Nice brought a decline for the leather industry in Grasse, and production of leather fragrance ceased. The rare scents from the Grasse (lavender, myrtle, jasmine, rose, orange blossom and wild mimosa) did win the title for the Grasse as the perfume capital of the world. Harvesting jasmine was a labor-intensive business only a few decades ago. Flowers had to be hand picked at dawn, when their scent is the most developed and immediately to be treated by cold enfleurage.

Modern industry
A network of sixty companies employs 3,500 people in the city and surrounding area. Additionally about 10,000 residents of Grasse are indirectly employed by the perfume industry. Almost half of the business tax for the city comes from the perfume sector and that is ahead of tourism and services. The main activity of perfumery in Grasse is in the production of natural raw materials (essential oils, concretes, absolutes, resinoids and molecular distillation) and the production of concentrate, also called the juice. A concentrate is the main product that when diluted in at least 80% alcohol provides a perfume. Also food flavorings, which developed since the 1970s, account for over half of production output today.

This represents almost half of the production of French perfumes and aromas and around 7-8% of total global activity. However, during the 1960s and 1970s large international groups gradually bought up local family factories (Chiris, Givaudan-Roure and Lautier, for example). Soon after their production has often been relocated overseas. Just 30 years ago most companies were focused on the production of raw materials. However an overwhelming majority of the modern fragrances contain synthetic chemicals in part or in whole. Grasse perfume companies have therefore adapted by turning to aromatic synthesis and especially to food flavorings and successfully ended a long stagnation. The Grasse perfume industry cannot compete against large chemical multinationals, but it benefits greatly from the advantage of its knowledge of raw materials, facilities, contractors, etc. In addition, major brands such as Dior and Chanel have their own plantations of roses and jasmine in the vicinity of Grasse.

Perfume producer
Three perfumeries, Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard opened their doors to the public and offer free tours that explain the processes of producing a perfume. It is possible to create one’s own perfume, eau de perfume or eau de toilette and participate in all stages of manufacture from picking flowers to bottling.

Galimard Perfumery, established in 1747 by Jean de Galimard provided the Royal Court with ointments and perfumes. It is the third oldest perfume company in the world after Farina gegenüber and Floris of London and was revived after the war by Gaston de Fontmichel and Joseph Roux.
Molinard was established in 1849 and their perfume bottles were made of Baccarat crystal and Lalique glass. Clients can create their own personalized perfume during the Tarinology fragrance course workshop.
The Fragonard Perfumery was established in 1926 in one of the oldest factories in the city. Its museum Fragonard Musée du Parfum displays rare objects that explain the history of perfumery, covering 5,000 years.
International Perfume Museum. Opened in 1989, the museum traces the evolution of techniques during the 5,000 year history of perfumery and the large contribution of the Grasse area to perfume making. It was renovated and expanded (doubling in size) between 2007 and 2008.

Historical Heritage

Notre Dame du Puy Cathedral
The cathedral dates from the middle of the 13th century (transfer of the bishopric in 1244). Its architecture is influenced by Liguria and Lombardy (plan, decorations, vaulting). The main facade is simple and understated. It reflects the interior layout: a raised central nave and two aisles.

In the 18th century, a crypt was dug under the cathedral and the interior pavement and the steps were redone. The central portal becomes the only access to this facade. It is enhanced by a double flight staircase. The portal is surmounted by a statue of the Virgin. The walnut doors are sculpted by two cabinetmakers from Grasse: Deschamps and Raybaud.

The cathedral of Grasse houses many works of art, some classified as Historical Monuments: “Saint-Honorat, Saint Clément and Saint Lambert”, altarpiece attributed to the school of Louis Brea, The “crown of thorns”, ” Saint Helena and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross “and” The Erection of the Cross “are works attributed to Peter-Paul Rubens or to his school. The “washing of the feet” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard from 1754 is one of the rare religious works of the artist from Grasse. The monumental cross in the nave is a mission cross from 1830 The large organs dated 1855 made by the organ builder from Toulouse Jungk. The “death of Saint-Paul, hermit” by Charles Nègre (artist from Grasse)

The Cathedral has 6 stained glass windows and four statues by Baillet representing the four evangelists: Saint Mathieu, Saint Marc, Saint Luc and Saint Jean.

Medieval village
The authentic character of the villages of the Pays de Grasse which make the charm of the Côte d’Azur. From the Siagne Valley, where this magnificent river winds nonchalantly to the villages in the south of the territory to the Haut Pays, where you will appreciate the many wealth and heritage remains of medieval villages, the Pays de Grasse is a clever mix of serenity and peace of mind. Magnificent old stone houses, cross immense valleys, discover the local heritage, savor specialties…

Town hall (former bishopric):
the monumental door of the town hall in dressed stone and crowned with the arms of Grasse leads into the inner courtyard where the fountain is enthroned topped by the statue of Rabuis representing allegorized Grasse. On the right, you can admire the well-preserved facade of the old episcopal palace. At the end, a discreet garden offers a panorama on the center of the city. Inside the town hall, in the lobby, two arches of the xii th century are remarkable, as is the private chapel of the bishops of Grasse (xii th century) on the second floor, today a marriage hall. When the bishopric was removed in 1790, the building became town hall.

Perfume shops:
a must-see when visiting Grasse. Three of them, Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard open their doors to the public and offer free guided tours to explain the perfume manufacturing processes. You can create your own perfume or eau de toilette there and take part in all the stages of its production, from collecting flowers to bottling the perfume.

The Galimard perfumery,
created in 1747 by Jean de Galimard supplied the Court with pomades and perfumes. It was relaunched after the war by Gaston de Fontmichel and Joseph Roux. The Molinard perfume presents antique bottles signed Baccarat and Lalique, series of labels. The tarinology workshop allows you to create your own perfume. The Fragonard perfumery has been installed since 1926 in one of the oldest factories in the city. Its museum presents rare objects that evoke the history of perfumery for more than 5,000 years.

Place and monuments
The Saracen Tower:
30 m high, square, old watchtower.
Bronze statue of Admiral de Grasse located on the Cours Honoré Cresp by the sculptor Cyril de La Patellière inaugurated onOctober 10, 1988in the presence of Hervé de Fontmichel, mayor, of Count Bruno Deydier de Pierrefeu representing the Cincinatti, of Prince Louis de Polignac, of the Marquis de Grasse, of Vice-Admiral Duthoit, maritime prefect.
Manon’s estate cultivates roses and jasmines.
The garden of Princess Pauline, named after the sister of Napoleon I who stayed in the city in 1807 – 1808 and liked this garden.

Art and Culture:

Fragonard Museum:
museum dedicated to the painter created at the initiative of François Carnot with the help of his Fragonard Society, the Fragonard Museum in Grasse wanted to be the regional museum that was lacking in Eastern Provence. The Clapier-Cabris hotel, vandalized and devastated for a century, was patiently and methodically renovated, then filled with a thousand treasures by many enthusiastic contributors. Opened in 1921, the museum, despite its name, did not exhibit a canvas by Jean-Honoré Fragonard for more than twenty years. Today, he owns thirteen of the most varied. The museum also presents replicas of four paintings he painted for the Countess du Barry. The stairwell presents an astonishing trompe-l’oeil that Fragonard’s son, the young Alexandre, would have produced at the age of thirteen.

International Perfume Museum:
Unique, the International Perfume Museum is the first public establishment dedicated to the protection and promotion of the world heritage of smells, aromas and fragrances, the museum traces the evolution of techniques and the 4,000 years of perfume history to which Grasse has largely contributed. It was renovated and enlarged (doubling the area) between 2007 and 2008.

Created in 1989 and renovated in 2008, the International Perfume Museum is naturally located in Grasse, the cradle of luxury perfumery. Unique, the International Perfume Museum is the first public establishment dedicated to the protection and promotion of the world heritage of smells, aromas and fragrances.

A living place of memory, the International Perfume Museum tackles the history of perfume from its various aspects: raw materials, manufacturing, industry, innovation, trade, design, marketing, uses. The perfume is also expressed through fabulous objects from five continents such as works of art, textiles, archaeological witnesses… The International Perfume Museum is also a daring architectural project by Frédéric Jung built around a 14th century rampart and the Pontevès mansion, ie 3,500 m2 with gardens and terraces in an exceptional landscaped setting.

Communicate, treat, seduce…
These are the major missions of perfume and the three axes of presentation of the collections at the MIP and at the Jardins du MIP.

Communicate: During Antiquity, we communicate with the afterlife by means of incense and other sacred ointments. Today, the communicating function of perfume is used for other applications such as scent marketing.

Treat: In the Middle Ages, we discovered the therapeutic virtues of plants and spices and we lay the foundations of current aromatherapy.

To seduce: From the 17th century, perfume asserts itself as an artifice of seduction which will continue to evolve until the creative compositions of today, carried by an ever stronger advertising communication.

Museum of Art and History of Provence
The Museum of Art and History of Provence (mahP) brings together, within the Hôtel de Clapiers-Cabris, important collections devoted on the one hand to daily life in Eastern Provence since Prehistory, and to on the other hand to the Fine arts and decorative arts from the 17th century to the first half of the 20th century. Housed in Villa Clapiers-Cabris, home of the Marquise de Cabris, and presents the history of Grasse and its region. An annex of the museum, located right in the street, contains Provencal costumes and jewelery of 18th and 19th centuries.

This regionalist museum is the work of François Carnot (1872-1960), son of the former President of the Republic married, in Grasse, to Valentine Chiris, daughter of the industrialist in perfume who is at the origin of the solvent extraction. The creation of this museum quickly brought together the local elite and a number of French and foreign donors. It is based on a large Society of Friends of the Museum, owner of the collections, which today supports the development and activities of the museum. Around regional archeology and popular arts and traditions, a selection of paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, furniture, ceramics, glassware, textiles, jewelry and weapons, the museum recreates the history of eastern Provence whose traditions, firmly anchored in daily life, have fostered the emergence of strong local identities.

In this mansion, which has retained its original distribution of ceremonial rooms and private spaces, reconstructions of rooms where life is good and educational exhibitions coexist harmoniously on three levels open to the south, overlooking the garden.

Maritime Museum – Memorial Admiral of Grasse
Museum dedicated to the life and career of a great sailor from Provence and his companions: François-Joseph Paul Comte de Grasse (1722-1788). By winning the naval battle of the Chesapeake on September 5, 1781, L’Amiral de Grasse put an end to the war of independence of the United States of America.

The ground floor of Villa Fragonard has housed the Marine Museum since 2007, previously located in the Hotel Pontevès. This museum dedicated to the life and career of a great sailor from Provence and his companions. Thirty models of ships are exhibited in the various rooms on the ground floor.

Museum of Provençal Costume and Jewelery
Former home of the Marquise de Cabris, sister of Mirabeau, the Mansion of Clapier-Cabris has housed the Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewel since 1997. Presents a private collection (dependence of the Fragonard perfume) who visits the delicate feminine suit universe 18th century.

Patiently assembled by Hélène Costa, the museum’s exceptional private collection is made up of 18th and 19th century Provençal costumes and jewelry: dresses, petticoats in Indian stitching, lace ornaments, headdresses, etc. These clothes tell the story of the life of Provençales, peasants, artisans and bastidanes of our region.

Villa-Museum Fragonard
This elegant country house from the end of the 17th century, with its magnificent garden, houses the works of the famous painter from Grasse Jean-Honoré Fragonard and his descendants. This cantor of gallant love painted four superb scenes entitled “The games of love” for the Countess du Barry, the king’s favorite.

Today, splendid replicas of these paintings adorn the living rooms of the museum. In addition to the original drawings and paintings by this artist, we discover in the stairwell, an astonishing trompe-l’oeil decoration, attributed to Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, son of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, which he would have produced at the age 13.

Fragonard Museum – Hélène & Jean-François Costa Collection
The Fragonard museum is located in the Hôtel de Villeneuve, a magnificent historic building restored in the spirit of the great 18th century Grasse residences. Dedicated to the most famous child of the city of Grasse, the painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), this museum presents some fifteen major works by the artist.

It also houses a collection of paintings by two other artists from Grasse, Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837) and Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759-1835). This set constitutes the second French collection of works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard after that of the Louvre and the first concerning the other two artists.

Concrete Art Space
The EAC is a contemporary art center with a collection of abstract art unique in France, the Donation Albers-Honegger. The Albers-Honegger Donation, classified as National Treasure, offers the public a set of 618 works representative of the multiple trends in geometric abstraction.

Located in the park of the Castle, the eac. is spread over three buildings: the temporary exhibitions on the first floor of the Château (built at the beginning of the 16th century and with a triangular-shaped plan very rare in France), the permanent collection in a contemporary building (2004, architects: Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer) and the Educational Workshops, below the Esplanade du Château (1998, architect: Marc Barani).

Perfume theme
The “know-how related to Perfume in the Pays de Grasse” was registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This historic event for France and for the World History of Perfumery, was held in Port-Louis under the chairmanship of HE Hon Prithvirajsing Roopun, Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of Mauritius in the presence of diplomatic representatives of the 178 signatory states of the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage and ICH experts from countries that have ratified the convention.

The approach was initiated nearly 10 years ago, supported by the Living Heritage Association of the Pays de Grasse which brings together all practitioners in the sector, whether they are farmers of the perfume plant, experts in raw materials or again the perfumers without forgetting historians, scientists, researchers… A unifying approach which tries to express a recognition with regard to the past generations who worked so hard to offer us this heritage.

Molinard Perfumery
Enter with ease in this beautiful family bastide… To discover the different stages of the manufacture of perfumes, life-size automatons and interactive games.

Few family businesses go through the ages with ever-renewed enthusiasm and demands. Created in 1849, Maison Molinard is one of them. In Grasse, the world capital of perfumery, five successive generations call out to emotion. Recognized by the highest distinction “Living Heritage Company”, in homage to its rare and ancestral know-how, the House reinvents itself every day with the passion to create as a heritage.

Parfumerie Galimard
Jean de Galimard, Lord of Seranon, related to the Count of Thorenc, lived in Grasse where he created in 1747 the Parfumerie Galimard. Founder of the corporation of glove-makers-perfumers, he then supplied the Court of Roy Louis “Le Bien-Aimé” with olive oils, pomades and perfumes, of which he was the inventor of the first formulas. For more than 264 years, Parfumerie Galimard has continued the tradition of its illustrious founder and perpetuates the processes that have made the reputation of its products.

Perfumer – Creator of Perfumes in the purest French tradition, GALIMARD has managed to remain an entirely family house and make craftsmanship a source of contemporary creativity. Learn about the secrets and techniques of manufacturing, during a free guided tour of our factories. Perfume creation workshops are also offered.

Fragonard Perfumery
Flower Factory: Dedicated to perfumery and aromatic plants, the Flower Factory is surrounded by a superb garden of perfume plants. At the gates of Grasse, this contemporary factory inaugurated in 1986 is equipped with very modern machines for the manufacture and packaging of our products. Discover the secrets of our know-how and our profession as a perfumer from Grasse.

Historical Factory: The historic Fragonard factory is an active production factory dating from the 19th century, in which you can follow the steps in the creation of a perfume, in a traditional and authentic setting. In the heart of the old town, our historic factory is one of the oldest in Grasse… Indeed, the current premises have housed from their origin, in 1782, a perfume factory. It was in 1926, in homage to the famous painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, that it took the name of Parfumerie Fragonard. Since then, every day, we have been producing our perfumes, cosmetics and soaps there in a framework that respects tradition.

Flower cultivation

Domaine du Mas de L’olivine
Two lovers of the earth and of scents, Audrey (from a family of pickers for 4 generations) and Thierry BORTOLINI (gardener, having made the most beautiful private Mediterranean gardens), open the doors of their 18th century family estate: the Domaine du Mas de l’Olivine in Peymeinade (10 minutes from Grasse).

Gourmets, they transform their flowers, themselves, into confectionery. Throughout the year, the owner will show you the cultivation of the emblematic flowers of the Pays de Grasse (Iris, Lys, Rose, Jasmine, etc.) with numerous olfactory and taste surprises. These perfume plants are cultivated in the traditional way in the middle of an olive grove of more than 300 trees following the shape of the landscape: the terraces.

La Bastide Isnard
Guided tour of an authentic land of perfumers. La Bastide Isnard is unique for its environment made up of a hundred-year-old olive grove of one hectare, natural springs, ancestral undergrounds and planted with perfume flowers (rose, jasmine, tuberose, lavender, etc.) which have made perfumery so rich. since the 18th century. This place allows you to discover the exceptional heritage of Grasse, the world capital of perfumes. Today this property has been inhabited by the Isnards, perfumers from Grasse and an emblematic family of the city for more than a thousand years.

Confectionery Florian
Created in 1949, the Confiserie Florian des Gorges du Loup is located in an exceptional site between the Gorges du Loup torrent and the mountains of the Grasse hinterland. Decorated with antique furniture from the South of France dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, Confiseries Florian have managed to combine tradition, refinement and flavors. Throughout the year, Florian confectionery welcomes visitors from all over the world to help them discover the making of specialties from the South of France.

Witness the transformation of the best fruits and the prettiest flowers of the region into confectionery products. In winter, you will see the work of citrus fruits transformed into jams, orange peels with different chocolates and the icing of candied fruits. From February to August you will see the work of the violet, then the Tango rose, jasmine and verbena transformed into delicious crystallized flowers or even flower confits for the pleasure of all gourmets. Throughout the year, you will attend the making of homemade chocolates, caramels and sour candies with the flavors of Provence.

Events and festivities
Grasse organizes events, exhibitions and conferences all year round, but especially during tourist periods, very focused on perfumery or local traditions.

The Fête du Jasmine takes place at the beginning of August. There are parades of floats, brass bands, fireworks and cultural performances around the theme of the Jasmine flower. In total, 150,000 are used for the celebration. The first edition of this popular and tourist festival took place in 1946 and the principle of the parades dates from 1948.

The Exporose or International Rose Exhibition takes place in May. There are rose exhibitions of all kinds, markets, sales, city tours, shows and competitions around the theme of the Rose. It has existed since 1972.

Bio Grasse takes place in early September. There is a market for organic products and events and exhibitions around organic farming, sustainable development and ecology. The first edition dates from 1996.

Olivéa takes place in June. It is a fair which houses markets, competitions, exhibitions, debates, events, conferences… around the theme of the olive, but also of all the local Provençal traditions.

Vénusia or International Congress of Cosmetology takes place in April at the Palais des Congrès and presents conferences around beauty and perfume.

The Centifolia Congress has been taking place in October since 2001. Its aim is to present the perfume industry, the city’s leading economic sector, and for which a competitiveness cluster has been labeled, through conferences.

The International Symposium of Aromatherapy and Medicinal Plants.

The Didascalies festivaltakes place in the spring, usually in May. It is a school theater festival that brings together nearly 20 troupes (300 actors), 10,500 visitors each year. Created in 1990 by the Fénelon Institute, the festival welcomes in addition to local troupes several foreign troupes who perform in French. Despite the difficulties, the organizing team refuses (with the support of the students of the major festival troop) to limit itself to a Franco-French festival. Until 2011 the troops competed to win the challenge. However, the inequality between the troops forced the association to close the challenge and to make the festival a friendly meeting around the theater. The major troupes are those of the Fénelon Institute (which has more than 500 actors, workshops of the

The festival “The very first times” is a film festival created in 1998 which takes place every year for a week in April. It is organized by the association “Cinéma au Parfum de Grasse”, born inJune 1997. During the week, there are screenings of feature films and a short film competition, awarded with an endowed prize, the Jasmin d’Or. There is also a video production competition, awarded the Lavandes d’Or prize. Finally, meetings are planned between the public (including schoolchildren) and film professionals.

Natural heritage

The Préalpes D’azur Natural Park
The Préalpes d’Azur Regional Natural Park is an inhabited rural territory but with a fragile balance, united by a common project. It is a living and dynamic territory. It is recognized nationally for the richness of its natural and cultural heritage and for its landscapes. This is a label that rewards an exceptional territory with a sustainable development project. It is above all a tool for expertise, animation, education, dialogue and mediation for the protection and enhancement of heritage and local development.

Lake Lands
Terre des Lacs is the eco-tourist park of the municipality of Saint-Auban. At the foot of the village of Saint-Auban, in the high country of Grasse, only 45 minutes by car from GRASSE, our park welcomes you in summer and winter and offers stays in harmony with nature.

Activities: descent of the Esteron canyons, trekking in the trees, climbing, horse riding, trout fishing, hiking, snowshoeing… Accommodation adapted to each request: solo, couple, family or group, half board or full board. A restaurant – La Source – in the park, with a view of the 2 pretty lakes and the valley, renowned for its magnificent sunsets.

The Cave Of Saint-Cézaire
The cave of Saint-Cézaire is located in the country of Grasse, about fifteen minutes from the capital of perfumes. The guided tour, with commentary in French and English, takes place over 200 m, nearly 40 m underground, on a course designed for easy access for the whole family. With 15 ° C, both summer and winter, warm clothing is welcome and closed shoes are suitable for wet ground. The fabulous spectacle of subterranean riches can be discovered from room to room: majestic draperies, grandiose stalactites, starry concretions, luminous jellyfish and a sound show on musical stalactites. Discover the Mediterranean vegetation, a souvenir shop, a picnic area and a large wooded park of 6 hectares. A restaurant open for lunch all year round offers Provencal flavors in the service of family cuisine.

Dark Balm Cave
It is in a preserved natural space where goats and sheep graze, in the heart of a vast wooded limestone plateau overlooking the gorges of Haute Siagne, that a true jewel of Nature has been hidden for thousands of years: the cave of Baume Obscure. This underground cavity has been built for the greatest pleasure of all to a depth of sixty meters. It allows, in the basement as well as on the surface, the discovery of an exceptional heritage specific to the limestone soils (karsts) of the Mediterranean mountain: particular geological and mineral formations, paleontological (fossils) and archaeological treasures (historical and prehistoric remains), biodiversity (fauna and flora). The cave and its surrounding natural spaces today form one of the most unusual, mysterious and fun sites to visit in the Préalpes d’Azur Regional Nature Park.

The Monts D’azur Biological Reserve
Located in the town of Thorenc in the Alpes Maritimes, 40 minutes from Grasse, the Monts d’Azur Reserve is a mosaic of surprising and fascinating environments: rocky cliffs, expanses of lawns, remarkable woodlands… Enter the Monts d’Azur Reserve and discover an exceptional site where European bisons, wild horses, deer, roe deer, wild boar, foxes… European wildlife in freedom! Alone or with your family, experience an exceptional adventure during a guided safari and an immersion stay alongside Patrice and Alena Longour, as well as their teams of animal guides.

mblematic species present on the site, we can observe the European Bison and Przewalski’s horse, successfully reintroduced by the teams of Dr Longour. Quickly acclimatized to this environment that their ancestors trod a few millennia ago, this reintroduction has also had significant positive impacts on the site’s biodiversity, with a notable development of the flora present and a quite remarkable opening up of the environments..

Activity

Strolling
Take the time, explore the essentials, on foot, by bike, on excursions. The Pays de Grasse does not lack resources or good addresses to vary the pleasures: parks and nature discovery, medieval villages, remains, shaded plots. Through Provence market, mixture of colors, scents and flavors… our producers concentrate the best of local products. Take a detour to our local artisans and artists. Sculpture, pottery, mosaic, painting, wood…, a know-how to be discovered from workshop to workshop.

Tasting
Share our traditions around olive oil, honey, cheeses, candies and flower candies, chocolate, craft beers and all the specialties that will delight the taste buds of young and old. Discover the favorite addresses throughout the seasons, experience the atmosphere of the markets, not to mention the shops where sweetness rhymes with pleasure!

Hiking or cycling
On foot, on horseback, by bike, are all ways to discover the beauty of nature that surrounds us. The Pays de Grasse and its many paths are pearls of nature that can be discovered along the way. From the Canal de la Siagne, via the Traverses de Grasse or even the Mont Peygros to the Haut Pays, the multiple landscapes of the Pays de Grasse reveal their secrets and seduce you with their intense beauty.

Bathing or fishing
The Pays de Grasse offers oases of freshness. Ponds, rivers, clues, swimming pools, whether you are with friends, family or lovers, each place has its share of peculiarities and surprises, including fishing and installing a checkered tablecloth for the picnic break.

Golf
Discover the golf courses in the area as well as the 35 golf courses in the South Region with the Provence Côte d’Azur Golf Pass. First choice golf destination, the Pays de Grasse offers all the characteristics of a privileged moment, associating sporting practice and art of living according to the seasons.

Admire
A nature and surprising environments, take a detour in our caves and in our parks and reserves, it is certainly an exceptional and fascinating adventure. The Pays de Grasse, by its location, between sea and mountain, offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, from the Gulf of Napoule, the Lérins Islands, the foothills of Tanneron to Lake Saint-Cassien and the chain of the Alps. Route des Arts, route du Mimosa, route Napoléon, route des Clues, all routes that offer an undeniable tourist attraction for discovering the discreet charm of our Provencal villages.

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