Last updated

Grassa  (Occitan)
Vue de Grasse.jpg
A view of Grasse
Blason ville fr Grasse (Alpes Maritimes).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Grasse
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Provence-Alpes-Cote d'azur region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 43°40′00″N6°55′00″E / 43.6667°N 6.9167°E / 43.6667; 6.9167 Coordinates: 43°40′00″N6°55′00″E / 43.6667°N 6.9167°E / 43.6667; 6.9167
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes
Arrondissement Grasse
Canton Grasse-1 and 2
Intercommunality CA Pays de Grasse
  Mayor (20202026) Jérôme Viaud (LR)
44.44 km2 (17.16 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018) [1]
  Density1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
06069 /06130
Elevation80–1,061 m (262–3,481 ft)
(avg. 333 m or 1,093 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Grasse (French pronunciation:  [ɡʁas] ; Provençal Occitan : Grassain classical norm or Grassoin Mistralian norm [ˈɡɾasɔ] ; traditional Italian : Grassa) is the sole subprefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region on the French Riviera. In 2017, the commune had a population of 50,396.


Considered the world's capital of perfume, [2] [3] Grasse obtained two flowers in the Concours des villes et villages fleuris [4] and was made Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (City of Art and History). [5]


There is an annual Fête du Jasmin or La Jasminade, at the beginning of August. The first festival was on August 3–4, 1946. Decorated floats drive through the town, with young women in skimpy costumes on board, throwing flowers into the crowd. Garlands of jasmine decorate the town center, and the fire department fills a fire truck with jasmine-infused water to spray on the crowds. [6] [7] There are also fireworks, free parties, folk music groups and street performers. There is also an annual international exhibition of roses ("Expo Rose") held in May each year. [8]


The Gare de Grasse railway station offers connections with Cannes, Nice and Ventimiglia.


Bronze Parfumeur Grasse - Parfumeur.JPG
Bronze Parfumeur

Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century. Grasse is the centre of the French perfume industry and is known as the world's perfume capital (la capitale mondiale des parfums). Many "noses" (or, in French, "Les nez" (plural)/"Le nez" (singular)) are trained or have spent time in Grasse to distinguish over 2,000 kinds of scent. Grasse produces over two-thirds of France's natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). This industry turns over more than 600 million euros a year. [ citation needed ] Grasse's particular microclimate encouraged the flower farming industry. It is warm and sufficiently inland to be sheltered from the sea air. There is an abundance of water, thanks to its location in the hills and the 1860 construction of the Siagne canal for irrigation purposes. The town is 350 m (1,148.29 ft) above sea level and 20 km (12 mi) from the coast (Côte d'Azur). Jasmine, a key ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to southern France by the Moors in the 16th century. Twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are now harvested in Grasse annually. There are numerous old 'parfumeries' in Grasse, such as Galimard, Molinard and Fragonard, each with tours and a museum.

The trade in leather and tanning work developed during the twelfth century around the small canal that runs through the city. This activity produced a strong unpleasant odor. At the time of the Renaissance perfume manufacturers began production of gloves, handbags and belt (clothing), to meet the new fashion from Italy with the entourage of Queen Catherine de Medici.

The countryside around the city began to grow fields of flowers, offering new scents from the city. In 1614, the king recognized the new corporation of "glovers perfumers". In the middle of the eighteenth century, the perfumery was experiencing a very important development. Leading companies dating from this period includes oldest French perfumerie and third oldest parfumerie in Europe Galimard established in 1747. Introduction of new production methods turned perfume making into a real industry that could adapt to new market demands. [9]

In the nineteenth century, the raw materials began to be imported from abroad. During the twentieth century the creation of synthetic products brought the democratization & affordability of perfumes and their spin-offs; (shampoos and deodorants, cream (pharmaceutical) and detergents, food flavoring for cookies, ice cream and dairy products, beverages, convenience foods, confectionery, preserves and syrups). In 1905, six hundred tons of flowers were harvested while in the 1940s, five thousand tons were produced annually. However, in early 2000, production was less than 30 tons for all flowers combined.

Historical activity

In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in leather tanning. Once tanned, the hides were often exported to Genoa or Pisa, cities that shared a commercial alliance with Grasse. Several centuries of this intense activity witnessed many technological advances within tanning industries. The hides of Grasse acquired a reputation for high quality. But the leather smelled badly, something that did not please the glove wearing nobility. This is when Galimard,[ who? ] a tanner in Grasse came up with the idea of scented leather gloves. He offered a pair of scented gloves to Catherine de Medici who was seduced by the gift. Thereafter, the product spread through the Royal Court and high society, and this made a worldwide reputation for Grasse. The seventeenth century became the heyday of "Glovers Perfumers'. However, high taxes on leather and competition from Nice brought a decline for the leather industry in Grasse, and production of leather fragrance ceased. The rare scents from the Grasse (lavender, myrtle, jasmine, rose, orange blossom and wild mimosa) did win the title for the Grasse as the perfume capital of the world. Harvesting jasmine was a labor-intensive business only a few decades ago. Flowers had to be hand picked at dawn, when their scent is the most developed and immediately to be treated by cold enfleurage.[ citation needed ]

Modern industry

Fragonard Diamant Fragonard - PARFUMEUR Parfums Diamant.jpg
Fragonard Diamant

A network of sixty companies employs 3,500 people in the city and surrounding area. Additionally about 10,000 residents of Grasse are indirectly employed by the perfume industry. Almost half of the business tax for the city comes from the perfume sector and that is ahead of tourism and services. The main activity of perfumery in Grasse is in the production of natural raw materials (essential oils, concretes, absolutes, resinoids and molecular distillation) and the production of concentrate, also called the juice. A concentrate is the main product that when diluted in at least 80% alcohol provides a perfume. Also food flavorings, which developed since the 1970s, account for over half of production output today.

This represents almost half of the production of French perfumes and aromas and around 7-8% of total global activity. However, during the 1960s and 1970s large international groups gradually bought up local family factories (Chiris, Givaudan-Roure and Lautier, for example). Soon after their production has often been relocated overseas. Just 30 years ago most companies were focused on the production of raw materials. However an overwhelming majority of the modern fragrances contain synthetic chemicals in part or in whole. Grasse perfume companies have therefore adapted by turning to aromatic synthesis and especially to food flavorings and successfully ended a long stagnation. The Grasse perfume industry cannot compete against large chemical multinationals, but it benefits greatly from the advantage of its knowledge of raw materials, facilities, contractors, etc. In addition, major brands such as Dior and Chanel have their own plantations of roses and jasmine in the vicinity of Grasse.[ citation needed ]


Three perfumeries, Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard opened their doors to the public and offer free tours that explain the processes of producing a perfume. It is possible to create one's own perfume, eau de perfume or eau de toilette and participate in all stages of manufacture from picking flowers to bottling.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 11,604    
1800 12,521+1.09%
1806 12,262−0.35%
1821 12,553+0.16%
1831 12,716+0.13%
1836 12,825+0.17%
1841 10,906−3.19%
1846 11,676+1.37%
1851 11,802+0.21%
1856 11,764−0.06%
1861 12,015+0.42%
1866 12,241+0.37%
1872 12,560+0.43%
1876 13,087+1.03%
1881 12,087−1.58%
1886 12,157+0.12%
1891 14,015+2.89%
1896 15,020+1.39%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 15,429+0.54%
1906 20,305+5.65%
1911 19,704−0.60%
1921 16,923−1.51%
1926 19,765+3.15%
1931 21,027+1.25%
1936 20,481−0.52%
1946 21,217+0.35%
1954 22,187+0.56%
1962 26,258+2.13%
1968 30,907+2.75%
1975 34,579+1.62%
1982 37,673+1.23%
1990 41,388+1.18%
1999 43,874+0.65%
2007 50,257+1.71%
2012 51,021+0.30%
2017 50,396−0.25%
Source: EHESS [10] and INSEE (1968-2017) [11]

The town is the setting in the final chapters of the novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind. It was featured in the film based on the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006). It was also featured in season 3, episode 16 of the cartoon series Lilly the Witch . The town is the setting in the final chapters of the novel The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.[ citation needed ]

Main sights

Three perfume factories offer daily tours and demonstrations, which draw in many of the region's visitors. In addition to the perfumeries, Grasse's other main attraction is the Cathedral, dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy and founded in the 11th century. In the interior, are three works by Rubens and one by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, the French painter native of the town. [12]

Other sights include:

Notable people

Frederic Bourdillon Frederic Bourdillon Antibes.jpg
Frédéric Bourdillon
Villa Musee Fragonard Villa Musee Fragonard.jpg
Villa Musée Fragonard

Grasse was the birthplace of:

Statue Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse, admiral de Grasse Bar-le-Duc - Statue du comte de Grasse -295.jpg
Statue François Joseph Paul de Grasse, admiral de Grasse

Grasse was the death place of:

Also notable:

Twin towns - sister cities

Grasse is twinned with: [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

Perfume Mixture of fragrant substances, usually in liquid form, used to give agreeable scent to objects, air or living creatures

Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents, usually in liquid form, used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces an agreeable scent. The 1939 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, Leopold Ružička claimed in 1945 that "right from the earliest days of scientific chemistry up to the present time perfumes have substantially contributed to the development of organic chemistry as regards methods, systematic classification, and theory."

Edmond Roudnitska

Edmond Roudnitska (1905–1996) was a French master perfumer and author. He is known for creating perfumes such as Dior's Eau Sauvage and Diorissimo, and Rochas's Femme. Many of his creations are still in production. He was the father of perfumer Michel Roudnitska.

Chypre is the name of a family of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalic set of basenotes derived from oakmoss. Chypre perfumes fall into numerous classes according to their modifier notes, which include but are not limited to leather, florals, fruits, and amber.

History of perfume

The word perfume is used today to describe scented mixtures and is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning through smoke. The word Perfumery refers to the art of making perfumes. Perfume was further refined by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances were incense based. The basic ingredients and methods of making perfumes are described by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Parfums Lubin is one of the oldest perfume houses in the world. Its early history is linked to the high society of the Napoleonic era, and its products became the imprimatur of haute couture, and indicators of fashion and social hierarchy.

Jean-Claude Ellena is a French perfumer and writer.

Jean-François Houbigant

Jean-François Houbigant was a French perfumer who founded the second oldest perfumery in France. He established a modest shop in 1775 at 57 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. He chose a basket of flowers to identify the front of his shop and that emblem will remain the symbol of Houbigant through the years.

Roja Dove

Roja Dove is a British perfumer whose fragrances are sold at department stores worldwide. Born and raised in Sussex, South East England, his career in perfumery began in 1981 when he joined the French perfume house Guerlain, working there for 20 years before leaving to set up his own companies RDPR and then Roja Parfums.

JOY (perfume)

Joy is a perfume created for Parisian couturier Jean Patou by perfumer Henri Alméras in 1929. It is considered to be one of the greatest fragrances created and is a landmark example of the floral genre in perfumery. It is no longer produced.

Henri Alméras

Henri Alméras was a French perfumer, author, and painter.

Jasmine in Karnataka

Jasmine is considered the queen of flowers and is called the "Belle of India" or the "Queen of fragrance" as it is exquisitely scented to soothe and refresh. In different parts of India it is called by different names—Mogra, Motia, Chameli, Malli puvvu, Jaati, Mallige, Juhi, Mogra or Moonlight in the grove. It is reported that there are 300 varieties of jasmine. It is also stated that jasmine crossed the seas—from Asia to Europe, landing first along the Mediterranean Sea, conquering Greece and Turkey, reaching Western Europe through Spain, then France and Italy and finally landing in England in the latter part of the 17th century..

Paul Parquet

Paul Parquet (1856–1916) was a French perfumer and joint owner of Houbigant. Called the "greatest perfumer of his time" by Ernest Beaux, he is widely regarded as the founder of modern perfumery for having pioneered the use of synthetics in works such as Fougère Royale. His bestselling perfume, Le Parfum Idéal, was described by Robert Bienaimé as a “masterpiece of fragrant equilibrium, harmonious and of good taste as shall never be surpassed”.

Nicolas de Barry is a French perfumer.


The Osmothèque is the world's largest scent archive, a leading international research institution tracing the history of perfumery, based in Versailles with conference centers in New York City and Paris. Founded in 1990 by Jean Kerléo and other senior perfumers including Jean-Claude Ellena and Guy Robert, the Osmothèque is internationally responsible for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of thousands of perfumes gathered from the past two millennia, archived at the Osmothèque repository and consultable by the public.

Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud is a French perfumer formerly with the Swiss fragrance and flavor company Firmenich, who currently works for Louis Vuitton of the LVMH Luxury Group.

The Maison Molinard was founded in 1849 in Grasse, Provence, in the south of France, a historic centre of Europe's perfume industry. It has remained an entirely family-run business to this day, and is also one of the oldest of its kind in France after Galimard established in 1747. At that time, Molinard produced floral waters and Eau de Cologne, which was sold in its "little shop" in the Grasse town centre. In 1860 the firm began creating new single floral fragrances from Jasmin, Rose, Mimosa and Violet in discreet, elegant bottles made of Baccarat crystal.

Kannauj Perfume

Kannauj Perfume, also known as Kannauj Ittar, is a traditional Indian perfume manufacture. The perfume production is popular in Kannauj, in the Uttar Pradesh state, India.

Yuri Gutsatz

Yuri Gutsatz,, was a perfumer. He emigrated to Berlin in 1924 and then to Paris in 1933 where he worked for the Parfums de Mury. After the Second World War, he was hired by Louis Amic at Roure Bertrand Fils and Justin Dupont. As a perfumer, he created many perfumes like Carven Chasse Gardée in 1950. and PM of Mary Quant. He participated in perfume projects for Ungaro and Estee Lauder as well as for Cartier, Dior and Van Cleef & Arpels. On December 12, 1975, he registered the trademark Le Jardin Retrouve and founded the first niche perfume house, a few months before the I'Artisan Parfumeur (1976). Yuri Gutsatz was also a perfume critic and vice president of the Société Française des Parfumeurs, and one of the founders of Osmothèque- the perfume conservatory-, in 1990 with Jean Kerleo.

Fragonard Parfumeur

The Fragonard perfumery is one of the oldest perfumeries in Grasse. It is located in the centre of the city.

Christine Nagel Swiss perfumer

Christine Nagel is a Swiss perfumer. She has served as the in-house perfumer at Hermès since 2016. Prior to joining Hermès she created designer perfume hits like Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Miss Dior Chérie (2005), as well as niche perfume like Wood Sage & Sea Salt, one of 47 perfumes she created for Jo Malone London. She has been recognized with awards from the Fragrance Foundation France, the François Coty Foundation, and the Marie Claire International Fragrance Awards.


  1. "Populations légales 2018". INSEE. 28 December 2020.
  2. Page Bienvenue sur le site de la ville de Grasse (in French)
  3. Collins, Ross (January 1995). "The Scents of a City". Fargo-Moorhead Forum. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. Palmarès du Concours des villes et villages fleuris dans les Alpes-Maritimes Archived 2009-02-24 at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  5. Ministère de la Culture. "Fiche de Grasse appartenant aux villes du réseau ville d'art et d'histoire" (in French). Retrieved 3 June 2007.
  6. Grasse Office De Tourism, Jasmine Festival Archived 2015-01-04 at the Wayback Machine .
  7. Yes I Cannes, Jasmine Festival 2013 Announcement.
  8. Grasse Office De Tourism, Expo Rose Announcement Archived 2015-01-04 at the Wayback Machine .
  9. Creamer, Colleen (8 August 2017). "A Perfume Devotee in the Land of French Fragrance" . Retrieved 3 April 2018 via
  10. Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Grasse, EHESS. (in French)
  11. Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  12. Fodor's Travel Guide, Grasse, France Review, accessdate=2015-03-24.
  13. "Jacques Cavallier". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  14. "Olivier Cresp :: Perfumers :: Now Smell This". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  15. "Jean Claude Gandur". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  16. "Jumelages". (in French). Grasse. Retrieved 2019-11-14.