And also Grasse and its surrounding area are the capital of flowers of which the great perfumes that seem eager to excel in aroma the natural fragrances are born. Here the world-famous perfume «Chanel No 5» one component of which was the Grass lily was born. It is known that to produce just one liter of essential oil about 10 thousand kg of petals is required!
It is in Grasse the events which described by Patrick Süskind in his thrilling novel «Perfume» took place. No less popular and the eponymous film which realistically depicts the life of a medieval Graça (as defined by the writer - «the kingdom of odors»). However, the events of the story that took place in Grasse really were filmed in Barcelona, Spain.
The date of foundation of the city is considered to be the 11th century. A century later, it housed the residence of the bishop of Antibes. At the end of the 15th century the city together with all Provence was transferred under the French crown. In the Middle Ages it specializes in leather tanning which was exported to Italy.
In the 16th century the production of perfume the origins of which date back to the tanning craft began to actively develop here. In the Middle Ages they did not know how to handle the leather so that it did not have the characteristic odor. Bags, boots and gloves which were made of local leather smelt bad. Therefore, the attempts of craftsmen to kill odors through a combination of essential oils, spices, flower petals were logic. The leather goods were impregnated with resulting mixtures. This technology was borrowed by local tanners from the Italians who in the 16th century began to massively move here with their knowledge and professional secrets. Perfumed Grass gloves quickly gained an extraordinary popularity in Europe. Even a separate specialty of glover-perfumer from which the history of perfume in this sense actually began appeared. The perfumers began to coalesce into the shops and in the early 18th century there was a whole Guild of perfumers of Grasse. Having a rich professional experience in the creation of flavours the local perfumers retained the attitude to this occupation as to art and sacrament.
Another historical landmark and tourist attraction factor of grasse became the fact that in 1815 the Route Napoléon (road of Napoleon) to Paris passed through these places. The local printing house had published an appeal of thEmperor to the army and the people.
Also Grasse is the city beautiful ethnographic holidays. Thus, in early August, in the days of jasmine harvesting (it was brought here back in the 16th century by Moors) the picturesque Jasmine Festival is held. Also, every year in May the spectacular Rose International Exhibition is held here.
In addition to perfume objects Grasse has other historical and architectural monuments.
In the center of the city the ancient Castle which is now a City Hall is preserved.
The Cathedral dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy with a bell tower (12-17 cent.) in addition to the beautiful finishes in the Roman-Provencal style can boast of the unique paintings of medieval artists: some masterpieces by Rubens dedicated to biblical subjects, Fragonard’s painting «Washing of the Feet», as well as the triptych Ludovico Brea dedicated to one of the most revered Christians of Provence, the founder of the Lérins Abbey, Saint Honorat. On the square next to the Cathedral there is a wonderful viewing platform which offers a magnificent panorama of the city.
Cote d'Azur has always attracted creative people. And Grace, among other cities in the region, is one of the most exciting and desirable to visit. With that it owes to the fascinating history, architecture, beautiful nature, romanticism and a special medieval aura under which you immediately fall and that you can not resist.
Famous people who are once visited the city give it more charm, intrigue and mystery. After all, it is always interesting to walk through the places and streets on which the prominent figures once went, compare your own emotions and impressions of the city with their opinions and assessments.
Ivan Bunin who has long lived in Grasse never ceased to marvel at the beauty of the natural environment, particularly the majestic Esterel Massif, and wonder that it «one thousand, five hundred years ago, in the days of knights, kings, monks» was the same, as it is now. He was touched with that literally anything «was under the Romans». It is known having received the Nobel Prize for Literature and the material equivalent corresponding to it (715 thousand Francs) the writer arranged a vigorous celebration of this event in Grasse and the part of the money he invested in the business which, however, did not bring him any financial benefits. According to the writer himself, he was infinitely happy in Grasse and thanked God that he sent him to live among such beauty. Although, it is known that not everything was simple in his personal life and serious passions raged in his strange family. All this confused and piquant story became the subject for the famous cinematic adaptation.
Also in Grasse Vladimir Nabokov lived for some time, the legendary Edith Piaf spent her last days here.
Also Grasse is inextricably linked with the name of artist Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806) who was born here and lived for some time. The famous perfume factory where the artist's father was engaged in the manufacture of scented gloves was named after him. Close to it there is the Perfume Museum. From its exposition you can learn the history of «perfume business» since the days of ancient Egypt, as well as get acquainted with a collection of vintage costumes, see alive and smell the plants from which the perfume is traditionally produced in Grasse. These are roses, jasmine, violets, hyacinths, myrtle, wild mimosa, lavender and citrus. The museum has also preserved a large collection of works by the artist and from the viewing platform next to it a magnificent view of the city opens.
Grasse is not limited just by one perfume museum. Each of the three famous perfume factories («Galimard», «Molinard» and «Fragonard») has its fascinating history and a unique museum where you can learn about the features of the ancient and modern technologies for creating scents, and even try to make your own perfume.
It is also interesting to visit the Museum of Art and History which is located in Clapiers-Cabris Palace built in the 18th century by son-in-law of Count Mirabeau, Marquis de Cabris. Richly ornated palace recreates the atmosphere and life of the Provencal city of 17-18 enturies, and around it, according to tradition, a lush garden with magnolias, orange and lemon trees, unsurpassed rosary is growing.
There is also the Maritime Museum in Grasse, a colorful flower market, art galleries, a railway station that connects Grasse to Cannes, Nice and Ventimiglia. The wonderful Place aux Aires where among the ancient plane trees the elegant 18th century houses, centuries-old fountains and arcades adorn.
It's nice just to wander the labitints of old streets and alleys of Grasse, and then look for a cozy cafe where having a cup of coffee or cappuccino with pastries to surrender to rest and unhurried contemplation of the life of the city.
Enjoy every moment of your stay in this beautiful corner of the world!