Grasse is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (France).

Grasse, a major city in the middle country of the Côte d’Azur, is located in the west of the Alpes-Maritimes department, 12 km north of Cannes on the French Riviera.

Sub-prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes, Grasse is the fourth city in the department in terms of population; its inhabitants are called Grassois.

Since the 17th century, the city has been considered the world capital of perfume, attracting many tourists for its fragrances. It won three flowers in the competition for towns and villages in bloom and was promoted to “City of Art and History.” It is also an “Internet City.” Internet Cities, an association of elected officials dedicated to citizen Internet and urban digital technology, has 450 member mayors.


Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century and is the centre of the French perfume industry, best known as the world’s perfume capital (la capitale mondiale des parfums). Many “noses” (or, in French, “les nez” [plural)/”le nez” (singular)]) are trained or have spent time in Grasse to distinguish among over 2,000 kinds of scents. Grasse produces over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). This industry turns over more than 600 million euros a year.

A network of 60 companies employ 3,500 people in the city and surrounding areas. Additionally, about 10,000 residents of Grasse are indirectly employed by the perfume industry. Almost half of the business tax for the city comes from the perfume sector – ahead of even tourism and services.

Tourism and main attractions

The Sarrasine Tower: 30 m high, square, former watchtower.

Town hall (former bishopric): the monumental door of the town hall is cut in stone and crowned with the arms of Grasse. This leads into the interior courtyard, where the fountain sits topped by the statue of Rabuis representing Grasse allegorized. On the right, you can admire the very preserved facade of the old Episcopal palace.

Perfumeries: an essential stopover when visiting Grasse. Three of them, Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard, open their doors to the public and offer free guided tours to explain the perfume manufacturing process. It is possible to create your own perfume or eau de toilette and participate in all stages of its production, from collecting flowers to putting the perfume in a bottle.

The Galimard perfumery, created in 1747 by Jean de Galimard, supplied the Court with ointments and perfumes. It was revived after the war by Gaston de Fontmichel and Joseph Roux.

The Molinard perfumery presents old bottles signed Baccarat or Lalique, series of labels. The tarinology workshop allows you to create your own perfume.

The Fragonard perfumery was established in 1926 in one of the oldest factories in the city. Its museum presents rare objects that evoke the history of perfumery for more than 5,000 years.

Fragonard Museum: museum dedicated to the painter created on the initiative of François Carnot, with the help of his Fragonard Company; the Fragonard Museum in Grasse wanted to be the regional museum that Eastern Provence lacked.

International Perfume Museum: opened in 1989, the museum traces the evolution of techniques and the 4,000 years of perfumery history to which Grasse has largely contributed. It was renovated and enlarged (doubling the surface area) between 2007 and 2008.

Museum of Art and History of Provence: located in the Clapiers-Cabris villa, home of the Marquise de Cabris and presents the history of Grasse and its region. An annex to this museum, located on the right street, contains Provençal costumes and jewelry from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Maritime Museum: previously located in the Hôtel Pontevès, the ground floor of Villa Fragonard has hosted the Maritime Museum since 2007. This museum, dedicated to the life and career of a great sailor from Provence and his companions: François-Joseph Paul Count of Grasse (1722-1788). Thirty ship models are exhibited in the different rooms on the ground floor.

Bronze statue of Admiral de Grasse: located on the Cours Honoré Cresp by the sculptor Cyril de La Patellière, inaugurated on October 10, 1988 in the presence of Hervé de Fontmichel, mayor, Count Bruno Deydier de Pierrefeu representing the Cincinatti, Prince Louis de Polignac, the Marquis de Grasse, Vice-Admiral Duthoit, maritime prefect.

The Manon estate cultivates roses and jasmines.

The garden of Princess Pauline: named after the sister of Napoleon I, who stayed in the city 1807-1808.

The Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewelry: presents a private collection (dependent on the Fragonard perfumery) that explores the delicate world of women’s costumes in the 18th century.

Religious heritage

  • Notre-Dame-du-Puy Cathedral in Grasse
  • Church of Sainte-Hélène du Plan de Grasse, built in 1753, is dedicated to Sainte-Hélène place d’Ormeaux
  • Saint-Jacques Church, 77 route d’Auribeau (Saint-Jacques)
  • Notre-Dame-des-Chênes Church, avenue des Buis (les Chênes)
  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Miséricorde Church, or Oratory Chapel, rue de l’Oratoire
  • Saint-Laurent Church, chemin Bouillere (Magagnosc).

Literature and cinema

The town has served as a plot location for several novels including:

  • Le Moulin du Rossignol by Georges Caméra in 2005 (literary prize from the City of Grasse in 2005)
  • Part of the novel Le Parfum by Patrick Süskind in 1985
  • In a Great Wind of Flowers by Janine Montupet, adapted into a TV film in 1996 by Gérard Vergez
  • From season 7, the action of the television series A Woman of Honor is set in Grasse.


Famous dishes: squash pie, fassum, barigoule artichokes, sou saussou, ganses, fougassette.

There is one Michelin list restaurant in the city: La Bastide Saint-Antoine, 48 avenue Henri-Dunant, Provençal cuisine.

How to get to?

From Paris: 9 hr 37 min (913 km) via A6 and A7

From Marseille: 2 hr 10 min (187 km) via A8

From Nice: 1 hr 13 min (45.6 km) via A8

From Toulouse: 5 hr 28 min (548 km) via A9 and A8

From Monaco: 1 hr 21 min (60.3 km) via A8 and D2085

From Andorra: 7 hr 18 min (638 km) via A8

From Madrid: 6 hr 41 min (656 km) via A8

From Moscow: 36 hr (3,107 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 14 hr 49 min (1,371 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 26 hr (2,321 km) via E70

From Bern: 7 hr 32 min (763 km) via A7

Main information

Area: 44,44  km2

Population: 48 323

Coordinates: 43°40′00″N 6°55′00″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also Andorra travel guide

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