Grasse is seen as the world capital of perfume. The local perfume industry plays an important role in the history of this city.
Grasse: From leather to perfume
In the Middle Ages, Grasse was an important city for the leather industry. The city and its immediate surroundings were specialised in leather tanning. There was, however, a major drawback to the tannery: it smelled like leather. Especially the aristocracy, who wore leather gloves, was not happy. They came up with the idea to provide leather gloves with a nice scent, so the gloves would not smell like leather.
Competition in the leather market increased. Simultaneously with the decline of the leather industry in Grasse, the perfume industry experienced a tremendous growth. Grasse changed from a major city in the leather industry into a major city in the perfume industry. Ever since the 18th century, Grasse has been seen as the world capital of perfume. The vast fields around the city are used for growing all kinds of flowers, which are used to create more and more different kinds of perfume.
Perfume of Grasse
Most perfume from France is made in Grasse. The main attraction of Grasse are therefore the perfume factories. There are three great perfume factories that you can visit: Galimard, Moulinard and Fragonard.
- The perfume museum of perfume manufacturer Fragonard is at the centre of Grasse and offers free entrance. There are two entrances: in the village street and on the road to Cannes. The museum can be visited by yourself or with a guided tour. If you take the tour you'll visit the production part of the perfume factory. Here you can see, smell and hear the whole process of making perfume.
- Perfume House Molinard is not free of charge but you can take a class in making perfume. The class is taught by a real Nose. During the course, you create a perfume for which you can choose between 80 ingredients. In the shop of Molinard you can find a selection of scents and soaps. There are also products you can't find elsewhere or are difficult to find.
- Perfume House Galimard is situated outside the centre of Grasse but is easily accessible by car. At Galimard you can also enjoy a tour and follow a course in perfume making.
- Besides the big perfume house, in the small shopping streets of Grasse there is also a number of small businesses where perfume is made. The owner of the shop / studio is the Nose who has created the perfume.
Stroll through the flower fields of the Provence
In various Domaines in the area around Grasse, you can follow a wonderful tour. Here you'll learn all about the production of flowers for the perfume and food industries.
In the whole world, there are only about forty people who are able to put together a totally new perfume. Most of these 'noses' come from Grasse. Only here and in Versailles, specialised nose training exists. These 'noses' work only two hours per day, because that's all the nose can handle.
Grasse , a great city in the Provence
Grasse a great city to visit. There are many attractions.
- Besides the aforementioned perfume houses, one of the most famous landmarks is the International Museum of Perfume. Here the history of Grasse and its perfume industry is shown.
- Another great attraction is the famous Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence. This museum focuses on the (art) history of the Provence.
- Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, located at the Place de Petit Puy. Construction started in the late 12th century, but the current shape of the Notre Dame dates from the 17th century. Here, three paintings by Rubens are featured.
- The church of Plascassier, built in 1644, is also worth a visit.
- Several festivals are held annually in Grasse. Famous is the Fête du Jasmin, in the first week of August.
- Finally, it is also nice to see the historic centre of Grasse. Enjoy one of the many terraces and browse through the perfume shops.
This city is definitely worth a visit!