Grasse villas and apartments are located on the cusp of the Alps' southern tail, where the majestic mountains step down into the Mediterranean sea. But the cathedral city of Grasse wasn't always a dreamy holiday spot – it began life as a leather tanning town. The appalling smells once associated with the process led to the development of perfumes, and today, Grasse is regarded as the perfume capital of the world. The pleasant aromas from the industry's flower fields augment the views and attractive architecture, to make Grasse holiday homes one of the sweetest options around.
Most holiday rentals in Grasse have access to a pool and BBQ area, come with fully equipped kitchens (including washer/dryers and dishwashers) and serve as a great base for walking in the surrounding hills. If visitors don't fancy stretching their legs, no problem – most properties offer parking and gardens, so holidaymakers can drive out for the day, or simply kick back and relax in the sun.
Outdoor pursuits: The location of Grasse apartments on the beginning slopes of the Alps means there are plenty of hiking and biking opportunities. Grasse also has two scenic golf courses, and skiing is always convenient in the winter. For the more adventurous hiker and climber, the Alps proper are literally minutes away.
Beaches: The famous beaches of Cannes and Antibes, as well as a further range of excellent holiday homes can be found within nine miles of easy driving. Guests at Grasse rentals can choose between the exclusive but expensive shores of Cannes, or the more reasonably priced, but prettier, Antibes. Indeed, the latter is considered to have the best beaches on the Cote d'Azur – a no-brainer!
Nightlife: Grasse tends to be a quiet, reflective town with hidden squares and winding roads, though the number of restaurants and bars may belay that idea. For a quiet drink or dinner with a tremendous view, Grasse is hard to beat. For more energetic entertainment, however, Cannes may be a preferable option.
Shopping: For dried flowers and scented products, Grasse is the go-to place, probably in the entire world. Of course, Cannes is nearby with its exclusive boutiques and designer chic, which is definitely worth a trip, even if just for the people watching and window shopping.
Culture: Grasse was a favourite haunt of Queen Victoria, who would stay with the Rothchilds while in town. It doesn't get much more cultured than that. To see what caught her fancy, one can't go far wrong by visiting the splendid cathedral, and various other historical and cultural sites, including the 30-metre-high Saracen Tower, and the International Museum of Perfume.
While it gets year-round sunshine, Grasse's location set back from the coast means it doesn't get the same moderation from the sea as Cannes and Nice, so while seasonal temperatures track similarly, they can get more extreme. The summers, for example, can top out a little hotter than the coast's 32°C, and the winters a little colder than 5°C with more common frosts. Rainfall is about the same, however, concentrated in the months of October and November.
The international Nice Cote d'Azur Airport is 25 miles from Grasse, and the best option for flying in. Buses do run to and from the airport, but having a hire car is a huge boon in this part of the country, so guests can get to the Alps and the coast with similar ease. Driving to the south of France is quite doable as is taking the train, with the French TGV high-speed trains making the journey in only six hours from Paris.