Grasse Essential Details
- Post code: 06069 / 06130
- Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
- Department: Alpes-Maritimes
- Population: 51,021
- Elevation: 80 - 1,061
- Geo-coordinates: 43°40′00″N 6°55′00″E
- Distance to Nice airport: 38 km (35 mins drive)
- More info on Wikipedia
A Brief Overview of Grasse
One of the most well-known and historical towns on the French Riviera, Grasse has been enchanting visitors for years. Set in the heart of the Provençal hinterland, Grasse is the capital of the perfume industry for the entire world. These days Grasse is, of course, synonymous with fragrance and sweet-smelling flowers, but originally the town was far more famous for its leather goods and tanning industry. Back in the Middles Ages, the town’s tanners produced high-quality leather goods for members of the nobility all over France. Then in the 17th Century, an enterprising young tanner named Galimard came up with the idea of creating gloves scented with a floral perfume to disguise the smell of the leather, and just like that a whole new industry was born in Grasse. Surrounded by lush fields of jasmine, roses, orange flowers and mimosa, Grasse became home to dozens of fragrance manufacturers, and perfume is still the town’s main industry today.
During the 19th Century, the pretty Medieval town was discovered by the British and Russian Royal families and quickly became a chic winter destination for the international jetset. Beautiful Belle Epoque villas sprung up in the hills around the town centre, and Grasse’s Mediterranean microclimate made it a favourite with those in search of winter sunshine. Grasse and the surrounding area have also inspired many artists and writers over the years. Marcel Pagnol wrote several of his iconic novels about Provence while living in the hills around the town and well-known names such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Edith Piaf and H.G. Wells all spent time in Grasse. Charming and sun-drenched, today Grasse is still one of the most popular destinations on the French Riviera, and this beautiful town is an idyllic setting for a relaxing holiday in the South of France.
The historical Old Town is home to a 13th Century Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace, both of which are well worth a visit thanks to their impressive art collections. Narrow streets open out directly into sunny squares, and there are tiny bistros and cafés on every corner, perfect for a morning coffee or an afternoon aperitif. Several museums pay homage to some of Grasse’s favourite sons including Jean-Honoré Fragonard who not only put the town on the map with his paintings but also inspired the Fragonard Perfumery which was named in his honour. Known as a City of Art and History, Grasse also pays homage its rich heritage with two museums dedicated to the history of Provence, and an impressive authentic collection of Provençal clothes and jewellery dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Culture aside, Grasse is also home to some fabulous restaurants with many places serving regional specialities which are a must-try. Sit by the Louis XV fountain in the Place aux Aires and nibble some of the tiny black olives grown in the hills around the town with your glass of wine. Then order a plate of Lou Fassum, a delicious stuffed cabbage dish which originated in Grasse and which has its very own prayer, the Grasse Bénédicité which is said to ensure that the stuffing holds together when the cabbage is cut open! The town also has more than its fair share of lively bars and bistros, perfect for an evening aperitif while you people watch in the town square. And at just 25 minutes away from the glittering resorts of Cannes and Antibes, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a night out in one of the chic beachside nightclubs and bars down on the coast.
Surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills, the countryside around the town is perfect territory for exploring. A national park sits in the backcountry around the town and offers breathtaking views of the coastline and the Esterel mountains. And just minutes away from Grasse you’ll find a series of stunning underground grottos and caves dating back hundreds of years. Beat the summer heat and take in a fabulous music and light show underground in the caves where the temperature is a refreshing 15°c all year round. With mountain activities like canyoning, fishing and treetop adventure parks, plus a thrilling range of watersports down on the coast, you’ll love spending time outdoors in this beautiful area of the French Riviera.
Visit a traditional olive oil mill or stroll around the traditional Provençal market before picking up some freshly-baked bread for lunch. Explore the Medieval streets of the old town and check out historical monuments and museums galore in Grasse. Go pony trekking through the hills behind the town, play a round or two of golf at one of the nearby country clubs, visit the perfume museum or tour fields full of fragrant flowers. From shopping to concerts, fine dining to flowers the options are endless in Grasse. With gorgeous scenery, fantastic weather and so many incredible activities on offer, we guarantee that you’ll fall in love with the French Riviera’s most famous hillside town during your holiday.
When is best to visit Grasse?
Capital of the world’s perfume industry, thanks to a Mediterranean climate and endless golden sunshine it’s always a good time to pay a visit to Grasse. Originally popular as a winter resort, these days Grasse also has a lively summer season. Come during the cooler months and experience the best of the Mimosa trail a regional celebration from Bormes-les-Mimosas to Grasse, or visit during summer and enjoy the traditional flower festivals held in the town.
Grasse tends to get the most visitors during the summer season from May to September. The Cannes Film Festival kicks off the busiest period of the year in the French Riviera, and Grasse is always a popular summer destination. With fields of flowers and lush green hills set all around the town, Grasse is an idyllic place to escape to when the summer heat gets a bit too much down by the Mediterranean. Nearby Cannes offers endless stretches of sandy coast to explore, and there are events galore all over this part of the South all summer long. Head to St Tropez or Monaco for luxury boutiques and upscale restaurants or pop down to lovely Cap d’Antibes for a touch of old-fashioned glamour while you’re in town.
During the winter months why not check out some of the more traditional festivals held in Grasse celebrating everything from flowers to the quintessential French Riviera olive. If you’re planning to visit during the holiday season, make sure you visit the Christmas market in the centre of town which has lots of stalls with gifts, crafts and delicious local food and drink. And ski fans will love the easy access to the Southern Alps with the closest station just 45 minutes away from Grasse. Hit the slopes in the morning and then head down to the beach in the afternoon to top up your tan, Grasse is the perfect base for an exciting adventure in the South of France.
How to get to Grasse
Getting to Grasse is half the fun. Sitting high in the hills above the Mediterranean, the main road winds through some of the most beautiful villages and towns in the French Riviera. Whether you travel by car or by train, you’ll love your first glimpse of the gorgeous Provençal countryside on your way into town.
- By air: Fly into the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport just 30 minutes from Grasse
- By road Take the coast road and drive to Grasse through rolling green hills and fields of flowers, what could be nicer?
- By rail: Sit back and relax while a comfortable train takes you up to Grasse from any of the main stations along the coast
- By yacht: If you would like to reserve a berth on the coast during your stay in Grasse, we have partnerships with local yacht broker
If you’re based in the South of France, why not let us arrange for a private car service to pick you up and drive you directly to your luxury rental accommodation in Grasse. Pop the air conditioning on and let our driver get you there in comfort. For more information about this service or to book a transfer, please contact our team.
Choosing Holiday Rentals in Grasse
When it comes to luxury Grasse accommodation, we’ve got you covered. We have a fabulous selection of real estate available for rental ranging from chic apartments in town to exclusive villas tucked away in the hills around Grasse. And when it comes to choosing your perfect holiday accommodation, here are a few things to consider before booking the holiday of a lifetime on the French Riviera.
Location: Whether you want to stay in the heart of town and explore Grasse on foot, or you’d rather enjoy the peace and quiet of the hillside around the town, we’ll help you find just the right location.
Outdoor space: While you’re on the French Riviera, we know you’ll want to make the most of all that glorious sunshine. So we highly recommend choosing one of our properties with a terrace or garden for your stay.
Sea view: If you want to enjoy breathtaking views over the coast, we have a great selection of properties overlooking the Mediterranean available for rental in and around Grasse.
Entertaining: If you plan to entertain while you’re in town, why not do it in style? Many of our Grasse properties have stunning outdoor dining spaces and BBQ areas for you to play the host with the very most, all summer long.
Swimming pool: The beaches of Cannes and Antibes are only a few minutes drive away, but if you want to cool off at home a swimming pool is a must. Take a look at our great selection of properties with fabulous swimming pools to choose your favourite this season.
Parking: Summer on the French Riviera is always a popular time to visit. To make sure you’ve always got the best parking space in town, many of our luxurious rental properties are fully equipped with garages or private parking.
Must See and Do in Grasse
Known throughout the world for its perfume and flowers, Grasse is one of the most picturesque towns on the French Riviera. We guarantee you’ll love exploring the perfume factories and museum, but there’s lots more to discover in this charming Medieval town. From art to history, outdoor sports to olive oil mills, you’ll be spoilt for choice with exciting activities to enjoy during your stay in Grasse. To help you plan your dream vacation in the South of France, here are some of our favourite things to do in and around the town:
Create your signature brand
Touring the perfume factories while you’re in Grasse is, of course, a must, but why not step it up a notch. Visit the Studio des Fragrances at the iconic Galimard factory and create your very own personal scent. Work with one of Galimard’s “noses” to learn about how great perfumes are designed before discovering different base products and perfume techniques. Your “nose” will then evaluate your choices and help you create your own fragrance using over 127 notes. Design an exclusive perfume for your partner or create a delicious fragrance for yourself, the choice is entirely up to you. And once you’ve put together your Base, Middle and Top notes, you’ll take your creation home in a fabulous personalised perfume bottle complete with the name of your brand new scent. Galimard will then keep your creation on file for easy reordering, and you can even create a line of complimentary products like shower gel and body lotion as part of the experience. Looking and smelling fabulous has never been so much fun!
Set in lush rolling hills in the heart of the French Riviera, the Saint Donat County Club is a little slice of paradise for golf fans. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Junior with the Benedetti Group, the par 71 combines a magnificent 18 hole course with a compact 9 hole training course. Challenge your friends to a round in the glorious French Riviera sunshine or brush up your skills on the practice green with its incredible stone Aqueduct feature before enjoying lunch on the sundrenched terrace back at the clubhouse. And if you fancy going all out while you’re in town, why not privatise the entire club for the day and host your very own golf competition? Make it a holiday to remember with an amazing day at Saint Donat, after all, anything is possible when you’re in the South of France.
Try a local speciality
Nice is known for the Pan Bagnat and St Tropez has its namesake Tarte Tropezienne but did you know that Grasse also has its very own speciality dish? TheFougassette is a delicious brioche which is baked in a wood oven and sweetened with locally produced orange blossom syrup.Traditionally baked in the shape of an ear of corn, the Fougassette has been delighting generations of Provencal school children for many years. It’s the perfect sweet treat to enjoy with your morning coffee or as an afternoon pick-me-up, so make sure you call into the Boulangerie Venturini while you’re in town. Located in the centre of Grasse, the Venturini family have been baking fresh Fougassette every morning for over 100 years, and their hot cakes sell out like, well hot cakes every day! Try a brioche still warm from the wood oven and then pop a few more in your bag to take home for later, we guarantee you’ll love this tasty little pastry.
For whom the bell tolls
Spend a morning exploring the narrow streets of the Old Town and discover some of the lovely boutiques and historical buildings dotted around the heart of Grasse. Then, just before 12 o'clock, head over to the square in Rue de l’Oratoire for the traditional noon day carillon concert. In the historical square, 12 bells chime every hour on the hour throughout the day but at noon they also perform a short concert. Grab a coffee and sit down by the pretty chapel to listen to the bells chime around the square. The carillon plays 2 lovely Provençal anthems ““Coupo Santo” and “Se Canto” and there’s no better way to experience life in the historic Old Town then by listening to them chime out before heading off for a leisurely lunch in the sunshine.
If you’d like more ideas about things to do in and around Grasse, please contact our concierge team. They’ll be delighted to give you recommendations for your next vacation.
Top Events in Grasse
Grasse is much more than just perfume. With an action-packed event schedule, there’s lots to do in and around the town. During the summer season take part in one of the traditional festivals or celebrate the Fete de la Musique with live music in the streets. And during a winter break check out the Christmas market or drive the Mimosa trail and experience Provence’s sweet-smelling yellow flowers in all their glory. Here are a few of our top events to check out while you’re in Grasse:
- The Mimosa road ~ January ~ March
- Olive Festival ~ February
- Flowers & Perfume Rally ~ April
- BNP Paribas Open Trophy ~ April
- Rose Festival ~ May
- Garden Festival ~ June
- Fête de la Musique ~ June
- Fiesta Gitane ~ July
- Jasmine Festival ~ August
- Organic Festival ~ September
- Christmas market ~ December
Now you’ve read all about our luxury rental properties in Grasse, the next step is to get in touch. Just contact our Cannes office via email or phone and our international team will be delighted to help you organise your next holiday on the French Riviera in our fabulous Grasse accommodation.