15 things to do in Grasse (France)

Grasse is the perfume capital of France on the French Riviera, and if you’re passionate about perfume, take an olfactory tour.

The town has an international perfume-making museum, three perfume factories to visit, and if that’s not enough, you can go to the farm to harvest fragrant flowers to make perfume.

If you’re not concocting your signature scent in the lab or stocking up on soap, you can fiddle around with the town’s art and clothing museum, or set off on many days.

Soon you will be on Riviera beaches, deep underground in caves or in perched villages hundreds of meters high.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Grasse:

1. International Perfume Museum

International Perfume Museum

As we said, Grasse is the cradle of French fragrances. Many of the raw materials for these fragrances are grown on flower farms nourished by Grasse’s microclimate and the region’s rare and abundant water resources. Jasmine, tuberose, May rose, violet and orange blossom are all grown locally.

Grasse’s Perfume Museum showcases craftsmanship honed over the centuries, incorporated into the town’s fragrances. Trace the origins of Grasse’s industry and its links to historical trade and projects such as the Siagne Canal. Then sniff out the different scents and ingredients at the museum’s aroma-sensing points.

You can also peruse a variety of antique perfume bottles designed by glass master René Lalique and others.

2. Parfumerie Fragonard

Fragonard perfume

Follow your sense of smell with a free visit to Fragonard perfume and discount store in Grasse.

You will visit the facility to learn about where perfumes are distilled and how they are bottled, building on your discoveries at the Grasse Perfume Museum.

You end up in a huge mall and we refuse you to leave without buying something! Now, if that still doesn’t satisfy your fragrance curiosity, you can sign up in advance for Fragonard’s “Perfumer’s Apprentice” workshop.

The course is 90 minutes long, during which, under the guidance of a qualified perfumer, you will learn about the structure of a fragrance (base, head and middle) and go to the laboratory to create your own scent.

3. Manor de la Roiley

olive farming

Grasse also has just the right environment for olive growing, with an ancient culture as rich as the flower farms on the plateau and the hillsides that surround the town.

During a visit to Domaine de Royrie on the hillside, an olive grove planted in the 1400s by the monks of Lérins Abbey, you will learn about the history of these revered trees, how the soil is maintained and how the olives are picked and pressed.

The estate also has a vegetable garden and small house where the plantation farmers lived in the 1700s.

At the end of the tour, owner Lionel Brault conducts a tasting session, where you can test the scents and complex flavors of its award-winning oils as you would a fine wine.

4. Museum of Villa Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa Museum

Not to be confused with the Frangonard Perfumerie, the Villa-Museum is an exquisite 17th-century country house where painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard, son of Grasse, lived during the French Revolution in the early 1790s.

Fragonard is known for his lyrical and occasionally cheeky late Rococo paintings about love.

The estate is gorgeous, with an elegant house decorated with 13 Fragonard paintings and a garden shaded by tall palm trees.

There are many original paintings by the artist, as well as reproductions of the game of love, four paintings made for Madame du Barry, Maîtresse-en-Titre to Louis XV.

5. Provence Museum of Art and History

Rue Mirabeau is an ochre mansion built for Jean-Paul de Clapiers, Marquis of Cabris, who married Count Mirabeau, one of the key figures of the French Revolution.

It is now the ideal place for a regional museum with art, ceramics and archaeological galleries.

The highlight is the lovely Provencal faience, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, from the workshops of Marseille, Moustiers, Valages and La Tour d’Aigues.

The art gallery houses paintings by Charles Nègre, who became a pioneer in photography in the mid-1800s.

6. Musée Provençal du Costume et du Bijou

In the salons of the neoclassical houses next to the Fragonard Perfumerie, a beautiful stage showcases regional costumes from the 18th century.

Mannequins with dresses, skirts, hats and shawls testify to the skill and opulence of Provence’s textiles, lace and needlework at the time.

Displayed in individual bell jars in the middle of the room, these dresses allow you to move around and see both the back and the front.

They are also arranged according to the context; you can see the abundance of the salon, while the kitchen of the house has clothes that the staff will wear.

The cabinets display a wealth of jewelry and other decorative items such as belt buckles.

7. La Domaine de Manon


In the perfume capital, one of the main flower plantations welcomes you to visit.

Among the cypresses, olive trees and distant limestone mountains of Provence, Domaine de Manon supplies Dior’s fragrances with lavender, May rose, jasmine and tuberose.

The farm also makes its own rosewater and jam, which you can buy from the store.

Not to mention that Domaine de Manon’s products are seasonal, so jasmine is harvested from August to October, while early May to mid-June is when the May roses are planted, which is the hallmark of Grasse fragrances. aroma.

8. More fragrances


After two more visits and excursions, you can stay in the scent of Grasse’s distinguished perfumer.

Galimard is Grasse’s oldest perfumer, producing since 1747 and supplying ointments and perfumes to the French royal family during that century.

There you’ll see the lab, where you’ll get a clear picture of how extraction works, and then visit shops full of colognes, eau de toilettes, perfumes, and soaps.

The second oldest is Molinard, founded in 1849 with its headquarters designed by Gustave Eiffel.

You can also make your own fragrances in the studio here and admire their vintage labels and bottles specially designed by Baccarat and Lalique.

9. Gorges du Loup

Loop Three Gorges

A 15-minute drive north, the scenery gets wild, with massive limestone walls and a gorge with three waterfalls.

How you approach the Loop Gorge is entirely your choice: for a majestic whirlwind tour, you don’t even have to get out of your car and drive the Serpentine D6 and D3, tracing the course of the Loop River from the opposite side.

There’s also a visitor’s center with turnstiles and access to a metal walkway with views of one of the waterfalls and the stunning turquoise waters that gather in the pool.

Then, if you can’t resist the lure of the river, you can go on a full-scale “canyon rafting” exploration: you’ll don a wetsuit and hard hat, walk along the valley floor, climb rocks, slide down waterfalls, and jump into crystal pools .

10. Gulden


Heading south to Gourdon, it’s almost impossible for a village to be squeezed so high, and the nickname ‘Nid d’Aigle’ (Eagle’s Nest) couldn’t be more apt.

The lovely Stone Village is just a few streets, but the views 700 meters above the Loup Valley will leave you speechless.

The château was built in the 1100s, and although you can’t currently enter it, you can spend a few minutes in the exquisite flowerbeds designed by André Le Nôtre of Versailles.

Gourdon is a tour for the early bird, as its wild popularity makes this tiny settlement a draw for tourists on summer afternoons.

11. Saint-Césaire Grottoes

Saint-Césaire Grotto

Drive 20 minutes west from Grasse and you’ll come to a 5km network of basements discovered in 1888 by a wine merchant. There are only about 300 meters to visit, but that’s enough to be amazed by stalactites, soda straws and aragonite.

Plus, being able to burrow 40 meters below the surface to a steady 15°C is a relief when Provence bakes in the hot summer months! On the 200-meter-long path, you can see a lot of cool things, such as stalactites that are 1.5 meters long and formed more than 150,000 years ago, and the seemingly bottomless abyss in the deepest part of the cave.

Your fun guide will also give you the tunes played on the musical stalactites.

12. Foundation Maeght


In the early ’60s, art dealer Aimé Maeght collected some of the leading figures of modern art to conceive an immersive exhibition space on a wooded hill near Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

The museum was designed by the Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, and the artist contributed bits and pieces: you can wander through the maze designed by Joan Miró, admire the mosaic frescoes by Chagall and Pierre Tal Coat, and gaze at the works by Georges Braque Stained glass windows, admiring the fountain by Pol Bury.

Altogether there are more than 12,000 works of art by Calder, Kandinsky, Fernand Léger and Miró.

13. Jasmine Festival

Jasmine Festival

Glass has a soft spot for jasmine and expresses her gratitude in an ebullient manner at the Jasmine Festival, held every year on the first weekend of August.

The weekend kicked off with a fireworks display on Friday night and a parade of floats on Saturday night, with “Miss Glass” and her “Princess” throwing flowers and spraying jasmine water at the crowd from one of 12 ornate floats.

Street artists, brass bands and folk dancing liven up the festivities.

14. Cannes


Just 15km south of Grasse is a city that almost exudes cinematic magic and Cote d’Azur charm.

Go there and strut down La Croisette, with a string of high-end boutiques on one side and the golden sands of one of the Riviera’s most exclusive beaches on the other.

In the distance, you’ll see the flagpoles and glass of the Palais des Beaux-Arts, home of the Cannes Film Festival.

Sashay walked down the red carpet, adorning numerous photo ops, before disappearing into the steep, intricate streets of Le Suquet, Cannes’ historic district, lost to the paparazzi.

The hillside behind the Cannes Film Festival is littered with lavish villas, and fabled parties have come to an end, such as Villa Domergue, now that the festival jury has retired for deliberation.

15. Local Food

pumpkin pie

Grasse is just a small town, but the surrounding countryside gives it some of the delicacies that are unique to this corner of Provence.

Fougassette is one of them, a delicious brioche flavored with local orange blossom that goes great with coffee or hot chocolate.

The main course offered by the best restaurants in Grasse is Fassum, a cabbage leaf stuffed with bacon, pork and greens.

Then there’s the classic farmhouse recipe artichauts à la barigoule, a slow-cooking casserole with artichoke hearts, shallots, lemon and bacon.

Both complement the rosé wines of Provence.

In Grasse, pumpkin pie is a Christmas speciality, enriched with vanilla extract and orange blossom water, and decorated with latticed pastries.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Grasse, France
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