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The sweet scent of Grasse

Grasse, a town in south-east France, is the centre of the world perfume industry. Situated in Provence, in the eastern department of the Alpes-Maritimes, Grasse is blessed by Mother Nature in many ways. The town has a remarkable microclimate, being warm and protected from the strong hot winds that plague much of the rest of the south of France. It also has an abundance of pure fresh water which makes the area around Grasse ideal for the flower farming industry, roses and jasmine forming the basis of the industry.

Very attractive Provençal town

Grasse is also a very attractive Provençal town, with terracotta-coloured buildings rambling up a hill in true southern style. The ancient streets are filled with architectural treasures just waiting for you to discover them, but take your time... there is no hurry... Grasse takes its pleasures slowly and savours them.

Discovering Grasse

There is so much to see and do in Grasse that you could spend a week planning an itinerary, but the best way to discover the town is to make no plans at all, start walking... slowly... and enjoy whatever you happen to find on your way. This is the way that Provence works... at a leisurely pace, punctuated by frequent stops for refreshment at one of the many delightful pavement cafés which litter the pretty streets and squares. Everywhere in Grasse there are fountains sparkling in the sunshine, and just looking at the dancing water can help you to feel a little cooler, even in the searing heat of summer.

Museums galore

Take time to discover the Place aux Herbes, the Place du Petit Puy, the Place aux Aires... the very names evocative of Provence. Visit one of several perfume museums, or perhaps you would prefer to see the Museum of the Art and History of Provence. The gentleman in the party, with perhaps less interest in scents and perfumes than the ladies, may enjoy a visit to the more masculine sounding Maritime Museum!

Shopping and dining

As you will have come to expect in Provence, Grasse is not deficient in either of these respects. The shopping here is excellent, with perfumes bursting from every doorway and much, much more besides. Dining out too, is delightful, with restaurants bringing their tables and chairs outside onto the pavements and squares for much of the year to make the most of the weather and the atmosphere. Try the Provençal specialities which are packed with the fresh and delicious flavours of tomatoes and herbs.

Fields of flowers

Grasse is surrounded by fields of scented flowers, stretching as far as the eye can see. Not for Grasse the sunflowers and corn of the south-west, or even the vineyards and olive groves of the rest of the far south, but acres and acres of roses, jasmine and lavender. The heady aromas fill the air and give Grasse a distinctive signature that is not repeated anywhere. The town celebrates its floral heritage with festivals dedicated to the rose and jasmine, and perfume shops selling the essential oils are found all over the town at all times of year.

Sports and leisure

Grasse has such lovely countryside all around that the best sporting activities are those which allow you to explore and enjoy it. Horse-riding, cycling, walking... all of these are perfect. Of course, if you feel the need for something else then you can access golf, tennis, and swimming as well. The cosmopolitan and sophisticated city of Nice is near enough for shopping and sightseeing trips too, so pack your credit cards!

How to get there

Getting to Grasse from the UK is not at all difficult. Nice airport is nearby, and you can fly there with easyJet, Air France, Aer Lingus, bmibaby, bmi, British Airways or Jet2. Marseille has a TGV station, and it is, of course, possible to undertake the long drive from the ferry ports of the north if this is your thing. The drive is long but it is immensely pleasurable to traverse the length of France, watching the massively changing scenery as you go.

Property prices and availability in and around Grasse

Property in Grasse is expensive, there are no two ways about it. It is one of the most desired locations in France, being close to the fabulous Azure Coast, haunt of movie stars and royalty for many years. Provençal towns are sought after, but you can take comfort in the fact that once you have secured your property in Grasse it is unlikely to lose value. And there should be a good rental income too, should you wish to go that route.

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Grasse AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Grasse?

Grasse lies in the far south-east of France, in the south-west of the Alpes-Maritimes department, close to its department's border with the Var.

Grasse Property Map

IN THE REGION OF PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ALPES-MARITIMES

Alpes-Maritimes Guide

  Alpes-Maritimes Map


Population: 44,000


Access: By air: Fly to Nice with a choice of airlines and departure points around the UK. By rail: The super fast TGV service runs to Marseille.


Economy: The town is most famous for perfume production.


Interesting fact: Grasse produces over two thirds of the natural essential scents used worldwide for both perfumes and flavourings!

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