Grasse Travel Guide
Grasse has a unique distinction: it is the world's capital of perfume – la capitale mondiale des parfums. For more than 500 years, beginning in the 16th century and continuing into present day, it has been the premier maker of floral essences for the French perfume industry, generating over €600 million in revenues annually. More than two-thirds of France's natural aromas originate in Grasse, with some 27 tons of jasmine – a key ingredient in most perfumes – harvested here each year. And even though an increasing portion of Grasse's floral essences are now sent to perfumers in Paris, some of France's leading perfumers, among them Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard, continue to make perfumes here. Visitors can tour the Fragonard and Molinard parfumeries and also visit the Fragonard Museum to learn more about perfume and the art of making perfume. And if you visit during spring or summer, you can see Grasse and the surrounding hills ablaze in flowers – jasmine, lavender, mimosa, orange blossom, violets – flowers that are ultimately distilled into concentrated essences. It's old town, by the way, is also quite pleasant to discover, with some historical gems strewn about.
Grasse is located on the French Riviera, perched in the hills just above Cannes, at an average elevation of around 1,100 feet (333 m). The town is also near the GR51, and thus provides easy access to the southern reaches of the Pre-Alps. It is, besides, at the heart of some very good hiking territory, and, as an added bonus, there is a launching site for paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts just outside town.
Grasse can be reached by train from either Cannes or Nice. It has a railway station, Gare de Grasse, with rail links to both Cannes and Nice.
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