Every year a small town in Provence called Grasse hosts a 5 day festival dedicated exclusively to Roses. The festival is held every May with the main prize going to the most beautiful and sweetest-smelling rose.
It seems fitting to hold the festival in this quaint little town seeing as it’s the perfume capital of the world and with Cannes just 15 km away you are close to the gorgeous seaside resorts too.
What really strikes you about Grasse is the cleanliness of the air and smell of the flowers, it really is a natural wonder that has to be breathed to be believed. You’ll leave the town feeling… well, refreshed!
The festival itself costs just €7.50 for adults and under 12s free, and opening times are 10am-8pm. We’d suggest you wouldn’t need any more than one day at this event, mainly because there is so much else to see in the region.
The town itself is ancient, vast and incredibly satisfying to walk through as a culture vulture. Narrow streets, ancient steps, arched tunnels and stunning squares are everywhere… just wander and explore! It’s a little dirty on the streets but try to see past that.
One other site to definitely see in Grass is the 10-11th-century Notre Dame du Puy cathedral and its huge 18th century clock tower. The cathedral is not only spectacular on the outside, but on the inside it contains three paintings by Rubens that are well worth a look. You’ll also find the 1754 painting Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles by Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
There is a walking tour (takes about 90 mins) but if you don’t fancy this, you can very easily get your hands on a free map which contains information about numbered sites (and is quite useful).
Some important dates on the Grasse Calendar:
Every Wed – Brocante, Place aux Herbes
1st Fri – Brocante, Explanade Cresp; Marché, Place aux Herbes
3rd Fri – Brocante, Explanade Cresp
Foires: last Mon. in Feb.; Mondays following St.Marc, St.Michel and St.André
Every April – Grasse-Alpine Auto Rally
Every May – International Rose Festival, for 5 days
Every May – Santo Estello – an annual rendez-vous for protecting the regional languages of langue d’Oc.
Every Aug – Fête du Jamin, for 5 days, with flowered floats
Every Dec – Noël Provençal – animations de rues, foire aux santons, etc.