Capitale mondiale du parfum

Grasse is known to be the world capital of perfume and therefore that’s all a visit about. The region surrounding it is used to grow different kinds of flowers (mostly lavender, narcissus, cassia, mimosa, violet, iris, roses, jasmine plus bigarade oranges) used in fragrance production and whenever you stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy good views from the mountain you’ll always have a nice scent in your nose.

That was not always the case, because Grasse was first known for tannery. In 1580 Francesco Tombarelli opened a laboratory for fragrances at the city and when twenty years later scented gloves came into fashion Grasse was well prepared for this new product. Still today you’ll find historic factories like Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard operating in the city – but most flowers are imported from countries where they’re cheaper to produce.

When in 1985 German author Patrick Süskind published his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was published and when in 2006 the film adaptation by Bernd Eichinger (with Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman and Dustin Hoffman) was screened the city received a lot of attention and world-wide visibility as the main location of the story.

I enjoyed being at Grasse very much. While the cities of the Côte d’Azur were pretty overcrowded life in the mountains was much more calm and relaxed. Have a coffee at the central Place du Cours Honoré-Cresp, sit down next to the cathedral Notre-Dame-du-Puy and just have look into the valley – there is nothing better. How to get to Grasse? There are busses going up from Cannes that take quite some time. The better option is taking one of the trains running along Côte d’Azur, one of them is ending at the railway station of Grasse.

When you arrive at the railway station you could walk up to the city, but it is a very steep ascent on many stairs and through a tunnel. The better option is to continue by bus up to Cours Honoré Cresp or Grasse Centre-Ville from where you can walk to the Musée International de la Parfumerie, the cathedral, the jardin des plantes and the Fragonard perfumery. The shuttle bus is called CENTIFOLIA (like the famous rose) and starts at the railway station. Tickets can be bought on the bus or you can use the ZOU app.


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