Introducing Grasse

Trip Start Apr 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2012

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Well where does on begin, caught the bus to Grasse this morning. The city is about 7km from here and the bus ride itself is an adventure on it's own. Just standing at the bus stop is an experience. No special place to stand, just on the road with not much room to avoid any cars. A little dangerous but special in it's own right. It did not take us very long to reach the city. First stop of course was the Tourist Office. They handed us a detailed map of the city , all in English, which helped us a lot. We were hoping to catch  the Petit train de Grasse first, this takes you around the city, and walked to the place where it was supposed to leave from. We soon found out that this would not be the place , the whole city is celebrating the Rose Expo for the next three days and all the main stands were being erected at the Petit Train departure post. We walked around for a bit and had a good look around  the city ourselves, but realised that we would have to ask the tourist office where the new departure point was situated The matter was soon cleared up for us , so off we went again to give it another try. Better luck this time, it was a 45 minute ride through the city and gave us a good idea where everything was and gives you your bearings as well. The ride itself was fantastic and very informative and of course unique.
Grasse's beginnings date back to the 11th century. The area is considered to be the world's capital of perfume. The manufacturing of perfume made the town prosperous in the 17th century. It is also known that Napoleon stayed there on his way to Elba. It is said that he stayed there for 100 days. Another famous person, Edith Piaff used to retreat to Grasse and actually died there, however the coroner did not declare her dead until she was transported to Paris. Obviously she was only allowed to die in Paris.  Queen Victoria used to spend her summer breaks in Grasse and had a small castle on the hill in Grasse.
The International Perfumery Museum is a must see and gives you a good insight of the perfume history manufacturing in the area, including the history of the special Jasmin they used to grow in the region.  The Jasmin grown in this region was very much sought after in the 17th century and at times still is today.  The Notre Dame du Puy cathedral is also a must. It shelters 3 paintings by Rubens, Fragonad and the Brea School. Not to be missed.
Just a bit of useless information given to us is, did you know that it takes 8000 Jasmin plants to collect 1kg of flowers for the making of perfume. No wonder the real stuff is so expensive. Grasse is a delight to visit and once again we need another week to see it all, however we are very pleased with what we saw. Enjoyed a very late lunch, ( yes Rick had a steak )another little look around and by then it was time to catch the bus back to the park. The bus driver gave us a little scenic tour as well, he drove us through a little village which is situated higher than here again. We did intend to hike up there to have a look, but he saved us the walk.
A fantastic day once again and it was sunny as well.
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