The fragrant French town of Grasse, located just north of Cannes and a very easy drive from Le Mas Candille, is an incredibly popular tourist destination for those holidaying in the French Rivera region, but why? What is Grasse famous for and what is there to do in Grasse? We have put together a quick guide detailing the top 5 things to do in Grasse, so you can make it your next day-trip destination.
LEARN ABOUT PERFUME!
Considered as the perfume capital of the world, Grasse is the birthplace of many a fine fragrance. Visitors to the historic town of Grasse can learn more about the process of making perfume; from the incredible cost of creating a single litre of rose essence, the global supply chains of botanicals, the ever-evolving techniques and the artistry and chemistry involved in creating the perfect scent. Each of Grasse’s most famous perfume houses, including Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard, offer a free tour so you can enlighten your senses. You can even do a perfume-making workshop to create your scent, giving you a souvenir like no other!
To learn even more about perfume you can visit the International Perfume Museum. The museum teaches the history and its role in civilisations, as well as France’s pivotal role in the industry. It is a must-do activity if you are visiting Grasse.
DOMAINE DE LA ROYRIE
If the smells of perfume become slightly overwhelming, escape for a breath of fresh air to tour the Domaine de la Royrie. Lose yourself in the beautiful landscape of the ancient olive trees. Grasse has the perfect environment for olive cultivation, and the hillside Domaine de la Royrie is an olive grove planted in the 1400s by the monks of Lérins Abbey. Upon visiting this spectacular spot, you’ll uncover the history of these venerated trees, how the soil is perfectly maintained, and how the olives are picked and pressed. Along with olive trees, the estate also has a vegetable garden and small houses where the plantation’s peasants lived in the 1700s. At the end of the tour, the owner even conducts a tasting session in which you can detect the scents and complex flavours of their award-winning olive oils, just as you would a fine wine.
GET LOST IN THE OLD TOWN
With so many little picturesque boutiques, signs and architecture scattered around the Old Town, you are sure to be stunned! Rue Jean Ossola is the main street in this idyllic Old Town, but enjoy getting lost in many of the little alleys and stairways that lead off from it. In particular, don’t miss out walking from the Place Aux Aires down the sloping Rue Admiral de Grasse.
You’re sure to have plenty of things to do in Grasse Old Town, including indulging in some retail therapy in many of the quirky artisan shops, antique dealers and clothes stores. Likewise, if you start to feel peckish stop for lunch in one of the eateries dotted around the Old Town ranging from typical French delicatessens, offering local cheeses, meats and wines, to French haute cuisine restaurants like Maison Giraud, Au Fil du Temps.
JEAN-HONOÉ FRAGONARD VILLA MUSEUM
Grasse is also famous for the artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard, known for his lyrical and occasionally cheeky late rococo paintings about love. Not to be confused with the Fragonard Perfumerié, the Villa Museum is a refined 17th-century country house where the painter lived during the French Revolution in the early 1790s.
The beautiful estate is decorated with 13 of Fragonard’s paintings and a garden sheltered by tall palm trees. There are also many original drawings by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as well as replicas of the Games of Love, four paintings for Madame du Barry, Maîtresse-en-Titre to Louis XV.
GORGES DU LOUP
If you are wanting to do something slightly different than just walking around Grasse, venture just 15 minutes north of Grasse and the scenery gets wild with titanic walls of sheer limestone rock, and a canyon blessed with three waterfalls. How you explore the Gorges du Loup is completely up to you. For a whirlwind tour you don’t even have to leave the car you can simply drive the serpentine D6 and D3, tracking the route of the Loup river from opposite sides.
Equally, if you fancy exploring the waterfalls by foot, there is a visitor centre too, with turnstiles and access to a metallic walkway for views of one of the waterfalls and the mesmerising turquoise waters that gather in the pools.
Finally, if you cannot resist the call of the river, you can explore the Gorges du Loup via canyoning. You’ll don a wetsuit and hardhat and traipse along the valley floor, scramble up the rocks, slide down the cascades and leap into the crystalline pools.
HOW TO GET TO GRASSE FROM LE MAS CANDILLE
Grasse is only a 20-minute drive from Le Mas, via the D5, making it the perfect day trip to explore the local areas.
We hope we answered your question of what Grasse is famous for. Enjoy exploring Grasse for the day and then return to Le Mas Candille for a relaxing spa treatment or dine at Le Candille, where you can wear your new perfume you made yourself.
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