Museums to see in Grasse

Museums to see in Grasse

The Musee Fragonard

IN 2015, FRAGONARD museum is celebrating Jasmine – the flower of Grasse; the flower of desire; the perfumer’s flower.

A queen among perfumery flowers, together with the rose, jasminum grandiflorum, known commonly as Spanish Jasmine, has been grown in Grasse since the 16th century, where generations of growers and perfumers have since nicknamed it simply the Flower!

A symbol of beauty and seduction, jasmine has been associated with love from time immemorial. In Tunisia, the blossoms are plaited together and offered as a love token. In India, Kama, the god of love, tied jasmine flowers to his arrows. And legend has it that Cleopatra went to meet Mark Anthony on a ship whose sails had been coated in jasmine essence.

Sensual, floral, heady, jasmine offers the perfumer an exceptionally rich array of olfactory possibilities. Featuring ‘the’ flower of Grasse, the new eau de toilette Jasmine by Fragonard will be available in an exclusive range sporting the town’s colours. Discover our fragrant collection in all our stores: an ode to the Flower for 2015.

The Musee Fragonard is holding two events this year;

  • ‘Perfumer’s Apprentice’ workshop – You can discover the world of perfume, the ancient art and trade secrets of the perfumer and create your own eau de toilette. Co-ordinated by a perfume expert, the workshops offer individuals and professionals alike an unforgettable experience for the senses.   This is a 2 ½ hour guided tour of the plant conducted in all the main international languages.
  • Olfactory event – The perfumer or the ‘nose’ is able to identify thousands of smells.  His imagination and creativity allow him to create an infinite variety of compositions. Follow the ‘nose’ and discover the three main aspects of jasmine: sparkling, floral and sensual.

More information can be found by visiting the Musee Fragonard website.


Musee d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence

The Provence Art and History Museum is housed in an eighteenth century mansion built by one of the oldest families of medieval Provencal nobility, the Grasse family then Grasse-Cabris combined with the Clapiers. The Marquis Jean-Paul de Clapiers-Cabris married Louise Riqueti (1769), sister of Count Mirabeau (1749-1791), deputy of the Third Estate.

This mansion is the work of Jean Orello, the Milanese architect. Italian with its roof terrace and its colourful façade but French with its classicism on the south side, the distribution of the building and its layout are Provencal.
Richly decorated and furnished but unfinished, the work was abandoned around 1776. Revolutionary events forced the family to flee to Italy and revolutionary national library was established in their home, the only survivor of a larger project that would have housed a museum and a plant conservatory in the garden.

In 1813 the daughter of the Marquis of Clapiers-Cabris, through a forced sale because of her parents’ debts, sold the building to the Bruery brothers: they were perfumers and made the building their home and factory. This company proved fatal because it irretrievably transformed the building.  Thereafter, the Bruery heirs only used the building to store their perfumes in the west.

In the late nineteenth-early twentieth century the Clapiers-Cabris hotel became a residential building and underwent, again, multiple renovations.  Finally, it was in 1918 that Francis Carnot lent his fortune and skills to this building and he revived it without being able to replace what was destroyed and sold during the previous century such as the wood panels from the lounges and bedrooms, the chimneys, some of the furniture and the parquet floors in the apartments.

He launched a public subscription and in 1921 he created the Fragonard Museum now called the Provence Museum of Art and History.

You can view the collections throughout the museum which are organised over three levels opening onto the south side of the garden.

More informationi can be found on the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence website.