So it’s February, the days are gray and cold and flowers are few. You begin to hear of Mardi Gras from some, but you already have your plans for a celebration without beads! You are on your way to the French Riviera with its pristine waters and soft sandy beaches to celebrate a centuries old tradition, Bataille de Fleurs.
You will get there for Carnival to take in the spectacle of the fabulously decorated carriages and floats, and be showered with petals during the Battle of Flowers, the final parade of Carnival. But you will find yourself staying for the food, museums, architecture and the sensory experiences offered by the sand and surf to the south and the fields of flowers to the north.
Grasse, a community just north of Nice, is a natural habitat for many of the most sought after flowers for fragrances. May Rose, Jasmine, Lily and Lavender grow naturally in the warm climate. Happily for the region, the fashion of the 1600’s caused a move from the malodorous industry of tanning to the industry of fragrance when a tanner in Nice offered a pair of jasmine scented gloves to Catherine de' Medici. Scented leather became the rage and Nice became the home to the most renowned Houses of Perfume in the world.
If you can be an early bird on at least of couple of days of your vacation, you can wander down to watch the open markets fill their booths with the flowers and produce of Provence. Pick up some fresh bread and fruit and wander the streets to soak in the sun and history of one of the loveliest places on the Mediterranean. Then take your trip north to visit Grasse and the farms that grow all of the flowers that are used for the best known fragrances in the world. There are entire farms of May Rose and Jasmine strictly devoted to creating the world’s most popular fragrance, Chanel No 5.
The rich history, architecture, cuisine and beauty of Nice are waiting for you, but if that is not enough…Monte Carlo is only 8 miles away!