Grasse & Surrounding Areas
The Bastide is located in Grasse, on the French Riviera / Cote D’Azur, a town long affiliated with the perfume industry since the late 18th century. Located only 15 kms from Cannes and a 30 minute drive from Nice’s international airport, as you appraoch the town the famous terracotta rooftops peak out from lush, green terraced hills at an altitude of 300-400m. Wander through ancient streets and winding alleys that still waft with the aromoas of lavendar and jasmine or make your way to the town’s ‘Pointe du vue (viewing point) and take in the breathtaking view over the town and surrounding hills. Notable tourist attractions are the 10th century Notre Dame du Puy Cathedrael (that houses works by Ruebens), the “Tour du Guet” watchtower and Place aux aires – the old market square with it’s three tierd fountain. There’s plenty to visit for perfume lovers – Galimard and Fragonard both have displays and giftshops in the centre of town whilst the International Perfume Museum takes you on a fasninating journey in the history evolution of techniques used to produce perfume over hundreds of years. There is a museum that displays a terrific collection of paintings by the artist Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806).
Nearby villages worth visiting are Plascassier, which was where Edith Piaf lived up to her death in October 1963 and the celebrated Amercian TV chef Julia Child built a house which she regularly visited, entertaining the her many illustrious culinary friends. 10 minutes from the Bastide is the charming village of Valbonne (meaning ‘Good Valley). This is a village perché but on the side rather than the top of a hill. This ancient gem retains much of it’s 16th century charm and the central square ‘Place des Arcades’, is a compulsory spot to stop by for some delicious French cuisine and feel the warm breeze of history that echoes around the old buildings. Many restaurants surround the square and hide in the back streets; kids play in the square while parents dine. Friday market is a draw from all over the area; even bigger is the monthly antique/bric a brac market ob the first Sunday of each month.
Other close villages include:
Le Rouret, home of Clos St Pierre Restaurant – a classic Provencal village, where an international group play boules on Friday mornings
St Paul, the legendary artists village on top of the hill above Nice
Mougins with its vieux village and mass of restaurants, now enhanced by the newly opened Musee D’Art Mougins
Cabris with its great views over the coast
Gourdon, the castellated village high above Grasse, whence you seem to be able to see almost to Africa