10+ Things To Do In Grasse, The Perfume Capital Of The World

Bonjour! Welcome to Grasse, an interesting French town where everything revolves around scents and perfumes. World-renowned perfumeries, perfume museums, perfume-making workshops, flower fields, streets dotted with shops selling… perfumes. It’s not without reason that Grasse is widely known as the perfume capital of the world! Add to that mixture a charming old town and great views of the surroundings and you’ll get a perfect blend that attracts thousands of travelers each year. Keep reading and discover in detail things to do in Grasse, France.

Interesting fact. One of the chapters of the famous book “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Süskind takes place in Grasse! Also, some scenes from the film adaptation from 2006 were filmed in the town.

Things To Do In Grasse, France - The Perfume Capital Of The World
Happy Little Traveler Authors

Created by Sonia & Wojtek

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Grasse, France FAQ

Where is Grasse located?

Grasse is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the Alpes-Maritimes department in Southeastern France. It sits on a hill at an altitude of 350m a.s.l, about 25km from the Mediterranean coast. Grasse is just a short drive from places like Saint Paul de Vence, Nice, Antibes, Valbonne, or Mougins.

What is Grasse famous for?

Grasse is most famous for being the center of the French perfume industry, for many known as the perfume capital of the world. The town is also home to three world-renowned perfumeries – Fragonard, Galimard, and Molinard, and many flower fields of roses, jasmine, or tuberose, used for perfume-making.

Is Grasse worth visiting?

Grasse is quite a unique spot along Cote d’Azur, different from other places nearby. First of all, there is no second place in the region offering so many various experiences connected to perfumes. Secondly, Grasse’s old town isn’t that perfect and is even a bit shabby in some places – but it gives the town its distinctive vibe. All of that creates an interesting blend, making Grasse a place worth visiting.

How many days in Grasse?

A few hours will be enough to see all the main attractions in Grasse and get a good feel of what this town is all about. If you want to experience it more fully and discover all it has to offer at a slower pace, we recommend spending 2 or 3 days there.

Can you make your own perfume in Grasse?

Yes, you can! There are perfume-making workshops offered by some perfumeries in the town.

How to pronounce Grasse?

It’s pronounced [ɡʁas]. Still don’t know how to read it? Here’s a YouTube video where you can listen to correct pronunciation.

Things To Do In Grasse - Exploring Old Town Main Street
Things to do in Grasse Old Town

A short history of perfumes in Grasse

Grasse didn’t always smell so nice. Actually, from the 12th century for hundreds of years, it stank as it was full of tanneries. At the time, leather products (like gloves, belts, or shoes) were in high demand by noble clients but had a terrible scent. During the 16th century, scented leather products were introduced to mask the odor. Grasse began to specialize in the production of perfumed gloves and the countryside around the town began to be covered with more flower fields, offering new scents.

In the middle of the 18th century, perfumeries experienced a significant boom. Galimard perfumery was founded in Grasse in 1747 by Jean de Galimard making it one of the oldest perfumeries in Europe. In the 20th century, businesses needed to adapt to new market demands and new uses for scents, like shampoos, deodorants, or creams. Also, perfumes started to become more affordable for all.

Interesting fact. Jasmine, an important ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to the South of France by the Moors in the 16th century. Nowadays, around 30 tonnes of jasmine are harvested in Grasse every year!

A short history of perfumes in Grasse
Beautiful old perfume bottles in Grasse Museum

Things to do in Grasse, France

Perfumeries in Grasse

Nowadays Grasse is home to many perfumeries, including three world-renowned ones:

  • Galimard – founded in 1747, located 4km away from Grasse old town. It provided perfumes and balms to the Court of Louis XIV!
  • Molinard – founded in 1849, located 1km away from Grasse old town in a building designed by Gustave Eiffel. Once it was popular with Queen Victoria!
  • Fragonard – founded in 1926, located in Grasse old town.

Each offers interesting free guided tours that explain the processes of producing perfumes and has shops where you can buy nicely smelling souvenirs.

If you’re interested in making your own unique perfume you can also take part in paid perfume-making workshops in one of mentioned perfumeries. Keep in mind that they are quite popular and it’s good to book your spot in advance. You can do that via official websites or via GetYourGuide or Viator.

Interesting fact. Many noses (experts on creating perfume compositions) are trained in Grasse to distinguish over… 3000 kinds of scents! Isn’t that amazing?

Learn more iconBook now: Perfume Workshop in Molinard

Perfumeries in Grasse - perfume by Fragonard
Perfumeries in Grasse - cosmetics by Fragonard

Grasse Old Town streets

Grasse’s old town isn’t big and there’s no better way of getting to know it than just getting lost exploring its streets and squares. There you’ll find pastel-painted houses, museums, great views over the surroundings, small boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, and of course plenty of perfume shops.

One thing you must be aware about Grasse’s old town is that it isn’t as beautiful or well-maintained as most of the other ones on Cote d’Azur. Strict tourist areas might look good but walk a few steps away and you’ll find yourself in a different world of run-down and shabby areas. It might feel a bit intimidating but on the other hand, it adds to Grasse’s unique character.

Things to do in Grasse Old Town - exploring streets
Exploring Grasse Old Town streets
Exploring Grasse Historic Centre streets
What to do in Grasse Old Town - explore streets and squares
Exploring Grasse Old Town - Place aux Herbes
Exploring Grasse Old Town - Rue Amiral de Grasse street

Among Grasse village streets you’ll find points of interest like Grasse Cathedral, Fragonard Perfumery and Museum, International Perfume Museum, Villa Museum Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and Town Hall.

Streets and squares you don’t want to miss are Rue Amiral de Grasse, Rue Jean Ossola – main old town street, Place du 24 Août – square with a viewpoint, Place aux Aires – with fountain and many restaurants, Place de la Poissonnerie, Place aux Herbes – where market is taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Place des Artistes.

Grasse Tourist Office is located in Grasse Congress Center on 22 Cr Honoré Cresp street, just a few steps from Fragonard Historic Factory

We marked them all on the map located at the bottom of this post.

Learn more iconDiscover: Accommodation options in Grasse

Charming detail in Grasse Old Town
Old run down building in Grasse Old Town
Exploring Grasse Historic Centre
Old run down building in Old Town Grasse
Exploring streets of Grasse Historic Centre

Fragonard Historic Factory

Fragonard Historic Factory (fr. L’usine Historique Grasse) is the most accessible perfumery in Grasse, located right in the old town. It offers free guided tours, in French or English, during which you can learn about the process of perfume making and discover how perfumes were made in the past.

There you’ll also find a small museum featuring a collection of antique perfume bottles, cases, and vases and a boutique shop where you can buy perfumes and other beautifully-smelling cosmetics.

Entrance to Fragonard Historic Factory is free and you can show up without reservation. Tours take place every 30 minutes. For current opening hours visit usines-parfum.fragonard.com website.

You can also take part in Fragonard perfume-making workshops. For that, remember to reserve your place earlier on the factory website.

Learn more iconBook now: Tour: Perfumery Fragonard, Gourdon, Tourettes Sur Loup, Saint Paul De Vence

Tour in Fragonard Factory in Grasse
Tour in Fragonard Factory in Grasse - Perfume

International Perfume Museum

If you want to learn in detail about the history, heritage and mysteries of the perfume industry, direct your steps to the International Perfume Museum (fr. Musée International de la Parfumerie). Inside you’ll discover the history of perfumes from Antiquity to the present days, perfume’s role in various civilizations, the steps of perfume creation, and France’s role in the industry. All thanks to an impressive collection of various items related to the world of perfume.

Entrance to the International Perfume Museum costs €6 and is free for children under 18 years old (May 2024). For current prices and opening hours visit museesdegrasse.com website.

International Perfume Museum in Grasse, France
International Perfume Museum in Grasse

Other Grasse museums

If you like exploring “regular” museums Grasse has something more to offer you than just the ones related to perfumes:

  • Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewelry (fr. Musée Provençal du Costume et du Bijou) is located just down the street from the Fragonard Historic Factory. It showcases regional clothing pieces and jewelry worn in the provencal region in the 18th to late 19th century. Entrance is free. To check out opening hours visit usines-parfum.fragonard.com website.
  • Museum of Art and History of Provence (fr. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence) is located right next to Fragonard Historic Factory. There you’ll find large collections dedicated to everyday life in Eastern Provence as well as Fine Arts and Decorative Arts from the 17th century to the first half of the 20th century. Entrance costs €2 and is free for children under 18 years old (May 2024). To check out opening hours visit usines-parfum.fragonard.com website.
  • Villa-Museum Jean-Honoré Fragonard (fr. Villa Musée Jean-Honoré Fragonard) is located in a late 17th-century country house with a lovely garden, close to the Fragonard Historic Factory. It houses the collection of art created by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as well as his son, grandson, and sister-in-law. Entrance is free. To check out opening hours visit museesdegrasse.com website.

Learn more iconBook now: Medieval Villages Full-Day Guided Trip

Museum of Art and History of Provence in Grasse
Entrance to Molinard perfume shop in Grasse
Grasse, France - exploring old town

Grasse Cathedral

Grasse Cathedral (fr. Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy de Grasse) dates back to the mid-13th century and is the most important historic monument in town. It’s located in Grasse old town on a lovely and peaceful square, just a few steps from Town Hall and the best viewpoint in town. It’s simple-looking both from the outside and inside. The church is home to three paintings by Peter Paul Ruben, and one by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Entrance is free.

View over Grasse Cathedral

Viewpoints in Grasse

If you’re looking for great spots to admire Grasse’s surroundings be sure to head to the viewpoint located behind Grasse Cathedral in Place du 24 Août square and to the small garden located right above Fragonard Historic Factory on Boulevard Fragonard. We marked both places on the map at the end of the post.

Learn more iconBook now: Provence Countryside Day Trip

Viewpoints in Grasse - Boulevard Fragonard
Viewpoints in Grasse - Place du 24 Août square

How to get to Grasse, France?

Grasse is located about 30km from Antibes, 15km from Gourdon or Mougins, 45 from Nice, and 20km from Cannes. The most convenient way to get to the town is by car or train.

Where to park in Grasse?

Your best option is to leave your car in one of the paid parking lots in town. We left our car in Parking Notre Dame Des Fleurs located just a few steps from Place aux Aires square. If you want to park closer to Fragonard choose Parking Indigo Grasse Honoré Cresp.

Learn more iconFor great car rental deals visit Rentalcars website.

To Grasse by train

You can easily and quickly get to Grasse by train from many places on the French Riviera like Nice, Cannes, Menton, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Antibes, or Villefranche-sur-Mer. To learn more about train connections that interest you visit sncf.com or rome2rio.com website. Remember that Grasse train station is located about 1km from the old town.

Learn more iconFor great train ticket deals visit Trainline website.

To Grasse by bus

You can also reach Grasse by bus, but it isn’t the fastest option. For example, a trip from Cannes will take about 40min (€3), 1h35min from Nice (€3-5), and 15min from Mougins (€3). To learn more about bus connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.

Camping Grasse

If you’re traveling by camper, places like Camping Parc Des Monges, Camping la Paoute, or La Camassade might interest you. They are located near Grasse.

To Grasse with an organized tour

If you don’t want to put too much effort into planning, you can always take advantage of the guided tours and let someone else take care of all the details. For a wide selection and well-reviewed tour options GetYourGuide and Viator websites.

How to get to Grasse, France?
Grasse, France - Things To Do

Things to do in Grasse, France – Summing up

Now you know what Grasse is all about. It’s quite an interesting spot on Cote d’Azur, isn’t it? Perfumes and each experience connected to them will definitely dominate your trip – it just can’t be any other way in this perfume city! Prepare your nose and credit card and have a good time in this fascinating world of perfumes.

Our video from Grasse

Our opinion about Grasse

For us, a visit to Grasse was a day trip, combined with a visit to Tourretter-sur-Loup, from Cannes where we lived for a few weeks. We visited it in late October during morning/afternoon hours, and back then the town was fairly peaceful, without many tourists. It took us about 5 hours to explore the village, including a short dinner break and a lot of time spent in Fragonard.

To be honest, we have mixed feelings about Grasse. Tourist areas are quite nice and full of charming streets and squares. But it’s not hard to come across shabby and run-down places. For us, the town didn’t have a pleasant or even very safe vibe. On the contrary, it was quite intimidating! And we haven’t experienced such a feeling anywhere else in the region. Nothing bad happened but unfortunately, that unpleasant vibe was there.

It’s also worth noting that Grasse is a place where a large number of immigrants live. No one bothered us but we (especially Sonia) could feel staring eyes and hear some commenting. Not a very pleasant feeling, but probably most women know it very well.

On the good side… What we liked most about Grasse was our time in Fragonard. Do we regret all the money we spent in their boutique shop? No, not at all!

Learn more iconBook now: Private Half-Day Tour of the French Riviera in a Vintage Car

Happy Little Traveler - Perfumes bought in Fragonard

Restaurants, accommodations, and map

Check out various recommended places below.

Where to eat in Grasse?

Here are your best, high-rated options in Grasse:

Where to sleep in Grasse?

Skylark Bed & Breakfast in Grasse, France

Skylark Bed & Breakfast

Skylark Bed & Breakfast is a delightful accommodation in Grasse that offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Each room is tastefully decorated, providing guests with comfort and stunning views of the surrounding hills and countryside. This B&B features a charming garden and terrace where guests can enjoy a meal and views. It's located close to the old town.

Best Western PLUS Elixir Grasse

Best Western PLUS Elixir

Best Western PLUS Elixir offers modern and comfortable accommodations with a range of amenities to ensure a pleasant stay in Grasse. Guests can enjoy a relaxing experience with access to a spa, outdoor pool, and a well-equipped fitness center. Conveniently located, the hotel provides easy access to the charming town of Grasse, known for its perfume industry and beautiful landscapes.

Un palmier à sa fenêtre in Grasse

Un palmier à sa fenêtre

"Un palmier à sa fenêtre" provides charming and cozy accommodation in a tranquil setting in Grasse. The property features tastefully decorated room with picturesque views of the surrounding gardens and countryside. Located just a short distance from the historic center of Grasse, guests can easily explore the town's renowned perfumeries and scenic attractions.

Accommodations photos source: booking.com

Grasse, France - Map of places

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10+ Things To Do In Grasse, The Perfume Capital Of The World

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