Whether you want to stay in Grasse itself or take a day trip there from one of the many other wonderful towns and cities in the region, you'll find a great selection of Cote d'Azure holiday villas at www.qualityvillas.com.
Global capital of perfume
Grasse's links to the perfume industry go all the way back to the 16th century, when the Moors introduced jasmine to the area, enabling local botanists to begin extracting and bottling the flower's scent. Since then, the town has gone on to become the nucleus of the global fragrance trade, largely thanks to its microclimate which creates perfect conditions for other flowers such as rosemary, violet, thyme and many types of blossom to bloom.
The surrounding countryside is full of stunning flower plantations, while visitors can also take tours of a number of perfume factories. The Galimard Perfumey, for example, is the second oldest such establishment in the world, having opened in 1747, while International Perfume Museum - which is housed in the former Hugues-Aine perfumery - provides an insight into more than 4,000 years of fragrance production.
While the town's perfumes can be discovered at any time of year, early August sees the annual Fete du Jasmine take place, making this a great time to visit. Thousands of flowers are thrown from a procession of elaborate floats as they parade through the city, ensuring everyone gets well and truly covered in the plant's scent, while the fire brigade soak the crowd with jasmine water from their old-fashioned fire truck hoses.
City of Art and History
Grasse is one of only a small handful of sites in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azure region to have been awarded the title of Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire (City and Region of Art and History) by the French Ministry for Culture and Communication, in recognition of its outstanding artistic heritage.
The best way to explore this is to take a trip to the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence, which showcases the very best visual art and other historical artefacts from the Provence region, dating from pre-history up to the 1950s. Housed in the elegant 18th century mansion that once belonged to the Marquise de Clapiers-Cabris, the museum offers multilingual guided tours and provides an exceptional way to learn all about the history and culture of this fascinating part of France.
As well as being just a short drive from the beaches of the French Riviera, Grasse is also located close to some of the most interesting sites in the region. Cannes, for example, is an obvious local highlight, being famous for its picturesque seafront cafes, sophisticated lifestyle and International Film Festival.
Anyone who wants to discover something about the area's natural history, meanwhile, can do so by visiting the caves of Saint Cezaire. Featuring a number of beautiful rock formations, this outlandish subterranean landscape is discreetly lit to create a truly enchanting atmosphere, enabling visitors to marvel at the pink and purple columns and unique structures beneath the ground.