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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Grasse, in the hills north of Cannes, is the capital of French perfume – with some 30 parfumeries distilling the globally-sourced essences that go into those pricey little bottles.

Fragonard, named after Grasse’s famous 18th-century painter, is one of the oldest and most traditional fragrance houses, and you can take a free tour of its history factory to see how their scents are made. There’s also a museum dedicated to the 3,000-year-old history of perfumes, and a ‘flower factory’ on the edge of town, surrounded by pretty gardens.

If you want to understand the process first-hand, sign up for a perfume-creating workshop, where you get to create your own 100ml bottle under the watchful gaze of a professional.

Although Fragonard is the most charming, Grasse’s other parfumeries, such as Galimard and Molinard are also worth a stop. Molinard’s perfume-making workshops help you to create your own scent, guided by a professional ‘nose’. Options range from 30 mins to 2 hours. There’s also a fun 20-minute workshop for kids aged 4-8.

While you're there

Nearby in Plascassier, flower nursery Domaine de Manon offers tours of their farm where they grow the centifolia roses and jasmine used in Dior’s perfumes. They’re usually only on Tuesdays during the flowering season (May to October) – check the website for the latest details.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

If you arrive by train, the station is 2km south of Grasse and linked by free village shuttle buses to the historic centre.

At the factory, there are free 90-minute guided tours (in English and other major European languages) of the production process, led by a professional perfume marker. They finish, of course, in the shop, where you can buy the Fragonard range. No booking required – just turn up. You can also read about the factory and the process before you go on a nice section on the website.

When to do it

The factory and museum are open all year round, seven days a week.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Destination guides

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