I’d been making plans for a while now to return to Grasse to take a “perfume workshop” but as life kept getting in the way of all my fun, it looked like it was never going to happen. Until today, that is. Give me a reliable cat-sitter, long weekend, and some pocket money and I’m all set!
I decided to make Nice my base since I already know it pretty well and could squeeze in some familiar stops like the flower market, antique book market, a stroll along Promenade des Anglais and stock up on goodies at Florian’s Confiture.
Up with the birds, and cat and rat (if you haven’t already, go back and read my previous Airbnb post), I headed out the door at 8:00 a.m. My first destination was to find the train station and buy my ticket to Grasse. I also got a day pass for the local bus, €5 and was all set.
With only a few hours before my train ride, I hit Paul’s (think French Starbuck’s only wayyyy better), got my breakfast (I didn’t dare try to make tea at my bnb, which was more like a cnr, couch and run), and made my way down from the tram stop towards the outdoor book market. Just follow the signs towards the flower market and it’s located in the piazza one block before the flower market.
I found a few treasures, then moved on to flowers one block over, towards the sea. As soon as I arrived, I was engulfed in the heady scents of blossams. Oh how I wished that we had a similar Saturday market in Genova! I would come here every weekend and be flower poor but very, very, happy! I once read that Elton John filed for bankruptcy because he had an obsession with needing fresh flowers in his house every day. If I was a famous musician, this for sure would be my downfall too…(and maybe unlimited Prosecco)
It seemed only appropriate to hit the flower market before heading out to a perfume workshop. I also managed to squeeze in a quick walk along Promenade des Anglais before heading back to the train station. My only regret was that I decided to wait for the bus once I got to Grasse because I didn’t know about the footpath.
The buses were slow and so I got chatting with a lovely old lady at the bus stop (laziness breeds new friends at least) In fact, in the end, after waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the bus, we were offered a car ride by a driver who was finished his shift (he still took my €1.50 bus fare, lol).
I was going to grab some lunch with the lady, but unfortunately I ran out of time. I had a 2:00 p.m. workshop to attend and by the time we reached the centre, I had no time to eat anything, not even a quick sandwich. It was after 5:00 p.m. before I had any food and smelling all that perfume made my head spin!
All in all, the workshop was fun and informative. I felt like a mad scientist with my apron and glass beakers and in the end I realized that it’s not so easy to smell your way through to a masterpiece scent. In fact, once finished, we had to pour our mixture into a spray bottle and label it. Mine was terrible, (maybe it will be a room deoderizer instead?), so I started randomly adding syringe-like drops of various scents to save it at the last minute. My label was then appropriately filled out by moi, with “Eau du WTF?” 😁 (What’s This Fragrance? – Get your mind out of the gutter people! I NEVER USE CUSS WORDS!)
Here is some general information about my trip:
I took the Flixbus from Genoa (Above Principe Metro station) to Nice Airport. I booked online, total cost return was approx. €33
Total time: 3.5 hours
At Nice Airport, I took a one minute shuttle to Terminal 1 and took the 98 city bus (Lîgnes d’Azur – you can download the app for routes and schedules in real time)
Cost one-way: €6
Timing to the centre of Nice, approx. 25 minutes.
Train from Nice Gare Thiers (train station) to Grasse:
Cost: €20 return
Time: 1 hour
Local bus: €1.50
On foot, follow the signs to centre ville, there is a foot path called traverse gare, going into town, many stairs, uphill, about 25 minutes walk)
(FYI, this train also stopped at some nice seaside villages along the way, such as Juan Les Pins and Cannes)
The perfume workshop at Fragonard.
Booked online. You can select preferred location, language and dates.
Duration: 1.5 hours, but it was actually more like two, then you get a tour.
What’s included? A cute apron, some information about the scents, instructions on how to mix them, a certificate, and a bottle of your own personal perfume.