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Grasse town guide

Grasse

Use your hire car to head north out of Cannes or Nice and within about twelve miles you will find Grasse, the perfume capital of the World.

The old part of the town is truly medieval; it was raided by the Saracens in the ninth century but survived as an independent city state until it was taken over by the Count of Provence in the thirteenth century. During the French Revolution it was a state capital and eventually became part of the united France in 1860 with the County of Nice.

It is clear that some of the more illustrious visitors to the Cote d'Azure found the clean mountain air of Grasse more conducive for good health. Pauline Bonaparte, the Emperor's sister stayed here as did Queen Victoria on more than one occasion. The Queen stayed with her friends the Rothschilds or at the Grand Hotel.

Sadly, the air in the small streets and alleyways of the Old Town is not always as fresh as it might be, although they are worth exploring as there are many interesting shops to be found. It is refreshing to come out on a square such as Place aux Aires with its glorious fountain. This is a good place to find a pavement cafe and take a break.

There is a good variety of museums in Grasse but the one that must not be missed is the Musee International de la Parfumerie which tells the story of the main industry of the town from medieval times to the present day.

Visitors who come to Grasse on a Wednesday, or the first or third Friday in the month will find a Brocante Market (antiques and bric a brac) in progress.

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