Grasse is a town and episcopal see in southeast France. It is a commune of the Alpes-Maritimes département (of which it is a sous-préfecture), on the French Riviera.
Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century.
Grasse is the center of the French perfume industry and is known as the world's perfume capital (la capitale mondiale des parfums). It produces over two-thirds of France's natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). This industry turns over more than 600 million euros a year.
Grasse's particular microclimate encouraged the flower farming industry. It is warm and far enough inland to be sheltered from the sea air. There is an abundance of water, thanks to its situation in the hills and the 1860 construction of the Siagne canal for irrigation purposes. The town is 350 m above sea level and 20 km from the Coast (Côte d'Azur).
Jasmine, a key ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to the South of France by the Moors, in the 16th century. Twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are now harvested in Grasse every year.
There are numerous 'perfumeries' in Grasse, each with tours and a museum.
About the middle of the thirteenth century, the see of Antibes was transferred to Grasse.
Bishops of Grasse worthy of mention are: Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio (1537-1648); the poet Antoine Godeau (1636-53), one of the most celebrated habitués of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, where he was nicknamed "Julia's dwarf" on account of his small stature.
The arrondissement of Grasse was separated from the diocese of Fréjus
in 1886, and given to the bishopric of Nice
which since unites the three former Dioceses of Nice
, Grasse and Vence
There is an annual Fête du Jasmin or La Jasminade, at the beginning of August. The first festival was on the 3 August–4 August 1946. These days, it is a big event; decorated floats drive through the town, with young women in skimpy costumes on board, throwing flowers onto the crowds. This is known as the 'flower battle' and everyone gets soaked by the natural perfume of the flowers. There are also fireworks, free parties, folk music groups and street performers. There is also an annual international exhibition of roses ("Expo Rose").
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