Grasse first appeared in ancient maps in the Middle Ages, in the early 11th century. At the dawn of the 12 century, Grasse became a free commune and an active trading city and today’s Grasse has maintained the urban structure of this period.
The charming old town’s architectural pattern, a snaking network of tiny alleys, bears traces of successive extensions around the original summit called Le Puy, where the temporal and spiritual center of power, the Cathedral, was built.
Grasse’s strategic position between the sea and the mountains led it to become the hub of a vast administrative and legal district, in addition to being a bustling center of trade.
When Nice and the surrounding County were annexed to Savoy, Grasse became a grand fortified city through its leather and tannery trades, for which it became internationally renowned. The gradual decline of the tanning industry was compensated for by the birth and rapid development of the perfume industry. By the late 18th century, springing from major floral crops which grew easily in the region’s special microclimate, the craft trade of perfumery became the foundation of a powerful modern industry that has seen, and still sees, extraordinary expansion and enjoys international fame and prestige to this day.