"Long ago and far away in a distant place..." Grasse by DeeDeForio
Grasse Travel Guide: 54 reviews and 133 photos
Part of Provence, Grasse is renowned as the world capital of perfume making. The rose and the jasmine are perfectly at home within this poetic setting that is dedicated to flowers and perfume. The impecably preserved medieval architecture provides an un-rivalled historical heritage to this city, whilst it has also gained international acclaim through the painter Fragonard
Perfume, which in the broad sense of the Latin term - per fumum means literally through smoke - has played a prominent role in all civilizations since antiquity.
Everywhere it is used it fulfills two primordial functions, religious and profane.
Its volatile nature and its ability to burn in beautiful wafts of sweet-smelling smoke make it mankind's privileged ambassador to the gods.
Perfumes and make-ups are also used for their magical and therapeutic virtues before being appreciated for their powerful strength of seduction.
Throughout civilization perfumes have spurred an incredible production of precious and refined objects made of rare materials : alabaster, earthenware, enamel , ceramic , glass, forged metals, whose luxury is rivaled only by their beauty.
Grasse's sudden appearance in the east of Provence where the other towns are of Greek or Roman foundation, can probably be attributed to the new economic and political structures set up by the feudal regime.
Once a tiny village situated on a spur of turf, Grasse owes its prosperity to its strategic position at the crossroads of major axes which allow for commercial exchanges by mountain via Castellane and by sea via the port of Nice, namely towards Genova.
In spite of civil wars, invasions, and the plague, all of which stifle the region's development for 400 years, Grasse's prosperity, first based on tannery and then perfumery -and therefore trade- undergoes a steady progression.
During the 13th century, a period of peace, convents sprout beyond the city walls. Beginning in the next century, Grasse must expand its boundaries to ensure their protection. It is then the capital of the diocese and the headquarters of a vast magistrate, combining administrative and juridical functions with spiritual powers.
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