Best Things to Do in Grasse, the City of Perfume
Grasse is internationally known as the capital of perfume, and that is why it has 40 perfumers out of the 200 perfumers that exist worldwide.
Grasse is the origin of perfumes from the Channel or Dior brands, among others, but it is also the cradle of painting and has some fascinating museums of local artists.
Walking through the historic center is a pleasure for the eyes, and if you have a break to rest, perhaps you can meditate from the top of the city, contemplating the beautiful views of Cannes.
Continue reading this post to discover the most attractive places and activities in the city of Grasse.
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Visit the Musée International de la Parfumerie
The Grasse International Perfume Museum is one of the city’s great attractions.
For lovers of cosmetics and curious minds, visiting the MIP is an excellent opportunity to discover the secrets of the perfume industry.
Throughout the visit, you will embark on a journey where you will be able to understand the steps necessary to create a perfume, from the transformation of the raw material to the finished product.
The MIP has more than 50,000 objects related to the cosmetic industry from the five continents from different eras.
You will find beautiful pieces such as the Egyptian ointment dish and 17th-century perfumes with incredible bottlings.
The regular visit price is 4 euros with a supplement of 2 more euros if you prefer a guide to accompany you and tell you every detail of this beautiful museum.
Coincidentally, there are also perfume creation workshops for teenagers and adults on the last Saturday of each month where you can make your perfume.
Create Your Own Perfume in Grasse
There are many places to carry out the perfume creation workshop in Grasse. We guarantee that you will have a great experience in all of them since it is an exciting and striking activity for those unaware of this meticulous art.
However, I would like to recommend you visit the iconic Fragonard perfume house. Fragonard is part of the history of Grasse perfumery, craftsman, and creator of perfumes. It opened this factory in 1926.
Since then, its heritage remains intact, and there are already five generations that have continued with the art of perfume and maintained the foundations of the brand.
If you have ever wondered how to make perfume, in Fragonard, you will discover everything you need to carry out this task, you will be able to make your mixtures, and the best thing, take them home.
A standard visit is divided into several stages:
Selection of raw materials
The manufacture of the perfume begins with the selection of raw materials. Fragonard carefully selects its high-quality ingredients, mainly from Grasse and worldwide.
The Secret Metal Still
The essence of the raw materials is extracted thanks to a huge metallic distillation unit. An ancient structure designed by Gustave Eiffel.
You will learn the different extraction techniques of natural materials.
Once the essence is obtained, the next step is the perfume’s composition. Again, all the perfumer’s talent is expressed in this 1930s laboratory.
Once the composition of the perfume is finished, it is time for maceration. The perfume must rest in specific vats before being bottled.
Duration varies by fragrance. You will observe in the workshop a large convoluted structure used for the creation of perfumes.
See the Soap Making
This house also makes its own soaps. See the production of soaps made from vegetable oil.
Thanks to the wide range of perfumes and colors, your sense of smell and senses will be awakened.
As for the Perfume creation workshops, Fragonard has a wide range for all types of pockets and visitor interests.
These workshops range from a simple 20-minute session for 30 euros where they will show you 3 bases with which to create a small perfume bottle.
Even more professional workshops of several hours where you will receive more extensive theoretical and practical training on combinations and knowledge of the raw material for a price of 199 euros.
We recommend that you do this perfume workshop; it has an affordable price and includes a guided tour of the perfume factory.
The city center of Grasse is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city.
The Fragonard perfumery this factory was installed in 1926 and still has original copper stills and old machines from the soap workshops.
This perfume factory offers historical, social, and cultural interest in what the perfume industry meant for France and, more specifically, Grasse’s city during the 1950s.
The visit to this museum is free and guided. Opening hours are from 9:00-18:30.
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Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-Museum
Located in the center of Grasse is another of the museums most appreciated by tourists who come to Grasse.
This building contains one of the largest collections of the local painter Jean Honoré Fragonard, a celebrated painter of the city and son of a perfumer.
This museum pays homage to this great painter and recognizes the figure of Jean François Costa, a great fan of 18th-century art, which has been the architect of this museum, patiently collecting the artist’s works for many years.
Admission to this villa museum is free. It is divided into three floors where you can enjoy the work of Jean Fragonard and two collections of two other local artists, such as the Marguerite Gérard and Jean Baptiste Mallet collections.
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Tour the Old Town
The old town of Grasse is another attraction in itself; it is a combination of history, modernity, and the smell of flowers.
The narrow streets of central Grasse are places to discover and buy local products.
Grasse is well known for the perfume industry, and it shows.
In the old town, you can find many craft shops that sell products made with lavender, roses, and other plants commonly used for making cosmetics.
In addition, Grasse has a unique charm reflected in the facades of its buildings with yellow and orange colors that brighten the eyes of tourists and locals.
Visit Notre Dame de Puy
On our ascending walk through the old town, we will find the Grasse Cathedral, which is located at the highest point of the city.
This 18th-century temple is a Catholic church that honors the protector of the town of perfumes.
The façade is not very surprising, but that should not fool you as it has incredible beauty inside with works by great French artists such as Rubens, Fragonard, and Charles Negré.
Visit the Domaine de la Royrie
The Domaine de La Royrie is another of the most visited places in Grasse. Located between Grasse and Cabris is this farm of olive trees, trees, and flowers that offer a different activity to tourists in the area.
This villa, founded by monks during the 15th century, has many olive trees that produce some of the best olive oil in the area.
During the visit, you will discover all the secrets of extra virgin olive oil processing and curiosities about other plants, such as the curry plant.
In addition to this cultural and gastronomic visit, the place offers other types of rest activities such as yoga and meditation workshops.
The ticket price is 10 euros.
Tour the Domaine de Manon
Since the 1930s, flowers have been cultivated to manufacture fragrances in an ideal terrain for their development and quality.
The Domaine de Manon is located in Grasse, in the small village of Plascassier.
This small village is a lovely place to visit for a day and discover the Centifolia Rose and Jasmine cultivated by three different generations. Today, the main crop that supplies flowers to the well-known Dior brand.
On Tuesdays in May, June, and August, it is possible to take a guided tour of the Domaine de Manon, where you will discover all the secrets of growing these valuable flowers.