Olfactory walk in the gardens of the Musée International de la Parfumerie

On the road to Grasse, just a few kilometres from Cannes, the gardens of the Musée de la Parfumerie are a must-see attraction in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Created by the town of Grasse, famous for its perfume, the Musée de la Parfumerie tells the story of perfumery through the ages. From ancient times onwards, the different facets of perfume are presented: soap, make-up and perfume, as well as techniques, marketing and archaeological remains.

The museum is in Grasse, while the museum gardens are further south, halfway between Cannes and Grasse.

If you love plants, and flowers in particular, the museum gardens are a lovely place to take an afternoon stroll during your stay in Cannes. The whole family can enjoy looking, smelling and learning more about flowers and their scents.

© Michael Maas / Shutterstock

Perfume in the South of France

Thanks to Louis XIV, a great lover of perfume, Grasse quickly became, after Venice, the epicentre of perfumery in Europe. The king perfumed the entire court and made perfume an essential for the bourgeoisie. In the 16th century, the art of perfumery became a French symbol. Later, thanks to great names such as Coco Chanel and François Coty, France was at the forefront of perfumery, intimately linked to fashion. Recognised as the world capital of perfume, the lands of Grasse are still cultivated by some perfume factories, which grow flowers as fragrant as they are rare.

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Perfume was one of the symbols of the French bourgeoisie.

- © Galina F / Shutterstock

The perfume museum in Grasse

Because of its history, the Musée de la Parfumerie opened in Grasse, the birthplace of this meticulous art. Since 1989, the museum has welcomed visitors from all over the world to tell the story of perfumery since antiquity. Through various themes –elegance and classicism, magic and dynamism, or frivolity and hygiene– the museum takes visitors on an olfactory journey to the heart of Provence.

The perfume museum in Grasse.

- © EQRoy / Shutterstock

The colourful gardens of the perfume museum

Just 10km from the centre of Cannes, the gardens of the Musée de la Parfumerie are incredibly colourful and fragrant. Covering an area of 2.7 hectares, they lie at the foot of the hills in the small village of Mouans-Sartoux. Proud of the heritage and know-how they have preserved, the gardens have been created with respect for the ancestral traditions of Provence. The Pays de Grasse urban community has signed a partnership agreement with the League for the Protection of Birds to guarantee the protection of the flora and fauna in the area. All the products used are organic or natural, so the site plays an important role in the conservation and preservation of local biodiversity.

Visitors are invited to take a stroll through the lush alleys, scented with spices and flowers.

The flowers in the garden are typical of southern France.

- © Christian Musat / Shutterstock

Editor's tips

If possible, visit the gardens in the late afternoon or early evening. That's when the flowers are at their most fragrant. A wonderful experience.

What to do in the MIP gardens

Observe the animals of the PACA region

The on-site ponds, the natural biodiversity of the site and the use of natural products encourage animals to visit the gardens. In fact, you'll be able to spot many species of bird, including grey herons, kingfishers and other animals such as garter snakes.

Cultural and environmental events

Town halls and local authorities often organise cultural events and get-togethers in the gardens.

On a regular basis, you can go to:

  • Plant swaps ;
  • Garden rendezvous
  • The "Fête de la Nature";
  • Le Temps des Contes" festival;
  • The "Night of the shooting stars"; And more.

You can find the full programme on the Musée de la Parfumerie website.

Permanent garden exhibition

Throughout the year, an exhibition of permanent collections highlights the links between botanical cultures, herbalism and perfumery. The exhibition shows how plants have evolved and adapted to meet human needs. It answers questions that everyone has about plants, such as: why do plants smell?

Guided tours

Free guided tours are organised every Saturday at 3pm. You must arrive a few minutes early to take part.

During the summer months of June, July and August, a tour is added at 5 p.m. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

Practical information

Opening times

  • Late March to early May: 10 am to 5.30 pm, daily.
  • From 2 May to 31 August: 10 am to 7 pm, every day. Closed on 1st May.
  • 1 September to 30 November: 10 am to 5.30 pm, daily.
  • Closed from 1 December to the end of March.

How do I get there?

From Cannes, the journey by car takes 25 minutes.

Where to park?

The MIP gardens car park is free and can hold 150 spaces.

How much does entry cost?

  • Full rate: €4
  • Reduced rate: €2

Who is this activity suitable for?

This activity is suitable for the whole family. Children will love looking at, smelling and touching the plants. There are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the botany and biodiversity of the Alpes-Maritimes, for young and old alike.

How long should I stay?

We recommend between 1 h 30 and 2 h to visit the gardens while taking your time.

On the way back, you can stop off to visit Le Cannet, an artists' village and balcony overlooking the sea next to Cannes.

by Editorial Team
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