12 May 2016

The Grasse region

The perfume industry has its roots in the city of Grasse. Fields of flowers in bloom and the wafting fragrance of jasmine and rose combined to make Grasse the world capital of plants cultivated for use in perfume. While retaining its traditional expertise in the processing of natural raw ingredients, the industry has made the most of innovation in the field of chemistry and has diversified across the value chain, aided by a truly remarkable ecosystem.

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A Provençal region steeped in understated charm, the Grasse area boasts the world-famous city of perfumery as its capital and lyrically describes itself as the Côte d’Azur’s most spectacular balcony. Nestled in the heartlands of the Côte d’Azur, a mere 12km from Cannes and 40 minutes away from Nice airport, the city of Grasse is home to a world-renowned perfume industry, as well as a rich cultural heritage that earned it the label of ‘City of Art and History’. Pôle Azur Provence, the Grasse region community, is set to encompass 23 communes from 1 January 2014.

Areas of excellence

Almost all activity in the city of Grasse is connected in some way, no matter how distant, with the luxury and cosmetics sectors. The flavouring and fragrance industry emerged in the 16th century with the trend for perfumed gloves, and has since undergone a variety of changes, ultimately settling on a vertical integration approach that has served it well. Although the emergence of synthetic chemistry revolutionised the fabric of companies in the latter half of the 20th century, a preference for the natural made a swift and hefty return. The Grasse basin became a high-tech perfumery hub that exports 70% of its produce. The highly-concentrated expertise in Grasse also extends to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. [>] Flavouring, fragrance and cosmetics.


Grasse boasts a full ecosystem set up to serve these areas of specialisation. [box title= “The Grasse Flavouring and Fragrance Ecosystem“]

  • The world-class aroma cluster “PASS”
  • ERINI: shared technological platform for analytical chemistry.
  • The FOQAL postgraduate programme: Professional Master’s programme in fine chemicals, formulation, analysis, conducted by the Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  • The Innovagrasse incubator: spread across 1800 m2 in an old, renovated building, this incubator can accommodate around thirty project initiators and is also equipped with a coworking space.
  • The ‘Sainte-Marguerite’ business park: the largest industrial site in the Pôle Azur Provence Urban Community, it is essentially home to industrial activity (fragrance and flavourings) and crafts.
  • The new ‘Arôma Grasse’ business park is devoted to perfumery, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies (8 ha).
  • The world natural Observatory aims to bring the following together in a single location: R&D activity, a technological platform, an international higher education centre, a technological start-up incubator, and a meeting area.
  • The International Museum of Perfumery, established in 1989.

2 high-performance business parks (ZI Tiragon and ZI de l’Argile) in Mouans-Sartoux add to this broad selection of location sites for companies.

Useful links