As you have probably all gathered by now I’m better at tweeting what I’m up to than blogging about it – it is quick & spontaneous and I can do it on the move. However there is only so much you can say in 140 characters so I really felt I should take the time to share my fragrant travels with you here.
Firstly I have a confession to make: previous to this trip I had never been to Grasse (which is a bit like a hardcore Elvis fan saying they have never been to Graceland).
From a historical perspective Grasse is hugely important to perfumery but although there are still many perfumeries and raw materials producers there the reality is that most of the big perfumery business now happens elsewhere. For the casual visitor a day trip or a weekend in Grasse would be enough but for the perfume fanatic a week would be perfect.
Grasse itself is very pretty but hilly, so if you are quite unfit you will be greatful for the fantastic shuttle and bus service that will enable you to see everything easily without driving. The fantastic Alpes-Maritimes bus service which is only 1 euro per journey makes Grasse an ideal base for exploring the other villages and of course makes travelling to Cannes and Nice very easy and cheap. The Funix bus runs from Grasse railway station to the main bus station at the top of the hill every 15 minutes and stops by the old Roure perfumery where we stayed at Virginia Apartments. If you are looking for budget accomodation especially in high season Le Virginia is a great option as the cost is per apartment (sleeps 4) with full self catering facilities. When I went in September/October the price was only 66 euros per night – much cheaper than staying in either Nice or Cannes. This combined with a cheap Easyjet or BA flight to Nice makes it a very reasonable weekend getaway to escape the British weather. The easiest way to get to Grasse from Nice airport without driving is to take the 500 bus for only 1 euro (google “ligne 500 grasse nice” for a timetable). On my first visit I decided to take the train for 8 euros and it was actually much more hassle as you have to take an additional bus from the airport to the train station and another from Grasse station to wherever you are staying.
So what should you see when you get there?
First stop for perfume fans should be The International Museum of Perfumery This museum is vast and I don’t have the time or inclination to write about it in depth here. All I would say is that if you are even remotely interested in perfume and it’s history you must go and see it for yourself. For general interest a few hours will be enough but hardcore perfumistas should allow a whole day to see and digest everything the museum has to offer.
Next stop Galimard!