If you are planning to visit south France and the French Riviera, taking a few days to see Grasse is a MUST. Grasse is located in the hills north of Cannes in the French Riviera. It is considered the world’s capital of perfume, and one of my favorite places in the world.
I love perfume on a level that is more obsessive than most women. And I love medieval villages. So, when I visited Nice I had to explore Grasse, Eze Village and of course the many Perfumeries.
No visit to Grasse is complete without exploring Eze Village and the perfumeries. The little village of Eze is truly a breathtaking site to see if you are ever in Nice or South France. It’s a little bit of a drive, but the scenic drive up the hills is worth it. We took a bus that departed from city center in Nice. (I believe it was free shuttle.)
Once we got to the village, it was a small walk up and into the walls that surround the ancient city. The streets are tiny and lined with artists galleries, boutiques and even private residences. It’s quite amazing and you can easily find yourself lost in the maze of alleyways. With each turn, you never know what you’ll discover.
After Eze, we headed into the village where there are more shops, restaurants and the Fragonard Perfumery, which has been open since 1926
I ended up with a bottle of a now unknown perfume that I got from the Fragonard Boutique. Sadly, I have lost the bottle and have no idea what fragrance it was since I had to transfer the contents to a glass bottle. It was a beautiful fragrance, though. Unique, fruity, sensual, feminine, heavenly, long-lasting. In route back to the States, the perfume began leak a bit, and “ate” the plastic stopper –that’s how potent it was! I believe about 1/4 of it leaked out. My duffel bag smelled righteous. My plan is to return and find that perfume again!
There are so many things to see in Grasse, so make sure you plan to spend more than a day in the area. The International Museum of Perfume (Musée International de la Parfumerie) is a top destination since Grasse is known as the perfume capital of the world. Take a guided tour through the gardens at the museum for an olfactory exploration of the many scents: fruity, musky, florals, citrus, woody, spicy. There is also the Art History Museum of Provence (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence). Once you have visited Fragonard Perfumerie, you will need to see Galimard, which is the oldest perfumery in Grasse and dates back to 1747, and Molinard Parfumeur. If you check into the schedules, you might be lucky enough to coordinate a perfume making class or make your own perfume at Fragonard or Molinard. Check their websites for details and schedules.
Or, if you are adventurous and have your own car, there are Lavender fields to be seen (of course!). So if visiting a Lavender Field in France is on your bucket list, you’re in the general area, but it will require a 1-2 hour drive. The best time to go is when the lavender fields are in bloom (mid-June through mid-August)
The best places to see lavender fields in Provence are:
- Valensole – Lavandes Angelvin
- Sault-en-Provence (Sault) Along the drive you’ll see many lavender fields if you the take D950 road to Sault.
- Simiane-la-Rotonde Idyllic village surrounded by lavender fields with a medieval castle to visit.