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Weekend Escape: Grasse, The Fragrant Soul of the French Riviera

Wed 14th October 2015

Grasse

World renowned for its annual harvests of beautifully fragrant blossoms, and with generations of artisanal skill teeming in the sweet country air, it goes without saying that this Grasse is one of our favourite places in the world.

Tucked away in the ever-blooming South of France, and pleasantly hidden off the Cote d’Azur path, Grasse is one of France’s finest gems.

And as any fragrance lover knows, it’s also home to some of the most captivating and pure aromas you will ever come across.

So what lies in store for you on a visit to Grasse?

You’ll soak up the heritage of this historic city – quite literally. Its staple perfume industry dates back centuries – Grasse has scented the boudoirs of everyone from Renaissance royalty to Hollywood icons, and its unique climate and positioning means that it continues to be the heartland of fine fragrance.

A visit to the International Museum of Perfume will give you a tantalising glimpse into the alchemical art of crafting a perfume – from selecting the most tender, perfume-drenched blooms – to creating the final harmonious composition. Tease your nose with a trip to a flower farm – an ethereal experience where heady clouds of rose, jasmine and mimosa will assault your senses.

And if you’re lucky enough to visit during the annual August festival, La Jasminade, you can expect to be festooned with jasmine garlands and sprayed with scented water from the city’s fire trucks! It’s an experience you’ll savour for a lifetime – and crave to recapture again and again.

But Grasse isn’t solely dedicated to fragrance – though it certainly is a large part of its soul. It’s also a hub of exquisite classical art, from the evocative work of Flemish master Rubens, located in the serene Notre Dame de Puy’s Cathedral, and the Fragonard Museum – home to the sumptuous work of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, whose enticing Rococo works make the perfect complement to the other sensuous pleasures of Grasse.

A world away from the glamour of Cannes and Nice, yet with a charm and delight all of its own, no visit to the French Riviera could ever be considered complete until you’ve immerse yourself in the sweet-scented air of this perfumed city.