Located about about 14km/9m inland at the foot of the Plateau de Caussols and overlooking the flower producing plain on which its fortunes have been based, is Grasse the perfume capital of France.
Grasse started out as a city state in the Middle Ages but the powerful Count of Provence Raimond Béranger, not happy with any challenge to his authority, absorbed it into his territories in 1227.
Following this the town became prosperous and well known for its leather goods. When perfumed gloves came into fashion during the Renaissance period, the local entrepreneurs spotted another opportunity and created the now famous perfume industry. Several of the producers, including Fragonard (see video clip) and Molinard, offer tours of their perfume making process.
The two main flowers which scent the air around Grasse are the Centifolia Rose (May till early June) and Jasmine Grandiflorum (August till mid-October). One of the flower growing enterprises, the Domaine de Manon, offers guided visits.
The climate of the region, ideal for growing flowers, was favoured by Napoleon’s sister, the Empress Pauline, and later by Queen Victoria who, very sensibly, spent several winters here.