Nice is beautiful, that’s beyond debate. Still, after a while you might want to think outside of the box. Luckily, the French Rivera has much more than just Nice to offer. There are several places worth a visit that are not far away. Most of them can be reached by bus, but renting a car for a day is not expensive and might be more comfortable.
There is no need to state the obvious destinations like Monaco, Cannes, and St. Tropez, since they are most likely already on every visitor’s agenda.
Where Patrick Süskind got the inspiration for his masterpiece: Grasse
A must-see for fans of the famous book and movie The Perfume! But even if you have never heard of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, the town of 50,000 souls is worth a visit. On a sunny day it is lovely to stroll through the old town and explore all the tiny streets, ancient steps and squares.
Grasse is the centre of perfume in France, the most popular historic perfume factories Fragonar, Galimard, Molinar, Fleuron de Grasse and Guy Bouchard are located there and open their doors for curious visitors. Grasse has a great abundance of water, even though it is in the hills, which lured tanners to settle there in the Middle Ages. Due to the advent of perfumed gloves in later years the art of perfumery arose.
The Fragonard perfume factory gives an overview of the history of perfumery, which is surprisingly interesting. The guided tours are free and available in several languages. Visitors learn about the sophisticated production of perfume and might finally understand why it is so expensive. At the end different perfumes are presented and will open a completely new understanding of the composition of scents. On several days the factory offers workshops for visitors to make their own personal perfume. After one of the guided tours you will probably never again buy perfume after just one sniff.
If you visit Grasse in late June or July and have already rented a car, the lavender fields near the town are definitely worth a visit. Scenes of the movie The perfume were filmed in those fields in 2005. If that’s not the case, an alternative might be the Jardin des Plantes, which offers a great view over the old town and the sea, or the Domaine de Manon, where perfume plants are grown since 1930.
In the beginning of August La Jasminade, a flower festival, takes place in Grasse. Decorated trucks, fireworks and street performers lure tourists and locals.
In a few words: Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Grasse!