This unique, magnificent flower is renowned in France but also boasts an excellent reputation across the world. This rose’s status is down to its intense, incomparable scent, which has also made it a favorite of the very finest perfumers.
A 100-petalled rose
Noses, growers, locals, and tourists all agree that the Rose de Grasse is magical. Both beautiful and deliciously aromatic, there is no denying it deserves its reputation. But where is it from? Its real name is Centifolia, which means “of 100 leaves.” This rose variety offers large, dense, bright-pink petals that give off a particularly strong, sweet fragrance. According to the legend, the flower was originally from the Caucasus and was first grown in Europe during the 16th century. Today, the centifolia rose is an icon of the beautiful town of Grasse in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, where 80 tons are produced every year.
An enchanting spectacle
Grasse offers many attractions and is worth the trip whatever the season, but most of all in May! Imagine whole fields covered in freshly bloomed roses and little streets filled with fragrance. Picture producers ready to share their passion through workshops on harvesting, distillation, and even tasting. The centifolia rose is harvested every May, which has lent the flower its other nickname, the “May Rose. Its fragile nature means it has to be hand-picked soon after it blooms according to techniques passed down through the generations. The ideal time is at dawn before the sun’s heat becomes too aggressive for the delicate plant. Then, the petals are processed on-site to avoid spoiling the flower through unnecessary transportation. The resulting products range from rose water and essential oils to jam and candy. An unforgettable sensory experience.
If you decide to visit Grasse in the spring, don’t forget about the ExpoRose* – one of the town’s biggest events. This larger-than-life exhibition celebrates the Rose de Grasse in all its forms. The town transforms into an open-air museum, with locals and tourists wandering through the streets and squares taking in the heady scents.
Grasse is far more than its flowers fragrances, however, and you will certainly not regret your trip! A visit to the International Perfumery Museum is naturally recommended, but the town also offers a number of other attractions. Use your stay to explore the medieval town steeped in history and tradition. Lose yourself in the meandering, interwoven streets lined with stone houses. And immerse yourself in the inimitable Provençal atmosphere of Southern France as you enjoy a truly enchanting break.
Have we convinced you? Then don’t wait another minute to plan your trip to Provence – accompanied by delicious rose tea, of course!
*ExpoRose, 49th edition: May 11 and 12, 2019