Postcards From France: Grasse, Part 1

Postcards from an artist (3)

My Postcard From Grasse – Part 1

This Postcard from France comes to you from Grasse. After chilly but beautiful Strasbourg up in northern France, a 5-day road trip dropped me much further south into Grasse, which is in the French Riviera, or Cotes d’Azur. It was close to Chateauneuf de Grasse, which is where I’d be leading my “Finding Your Artistic Voice” photography retreat a few days later. 

I needed to scout locations for the retreat and I chose Grasse as my home base for that, because it was central to the area. Not far from Cannes and the coast, close to the train to everywhere and also near some medieval villages I wanted to check out for my group, Grasse had its own charm as well: a 12 century cathedral, a rose festival happening on my exact retreat dates, lots of places to stay – and it’s known as the “perfume capital of the world”, home to Fragonard, Molinari and a host of other perfume makers. It sounded delish!

The story of where I stayed and all that happened there is a story unto itself! I’m making a Part 2 just for that.

For today I’ll just say that I since arrived early, my host wasn’t quite ready for me. The place is tucked way up on the hill, with windy switchback roads leading to it by car. But my host showed me on a map how there are stairs that lead straight down into town. So I suited up (it had been raining that day) and moved carefully down the 300 steps into central Grasse.

Walking still hurt, but less than it had been – so I took it slowly and gasped with wonder at every turn. The 300 steps to centre ville (town center) was breathtaking and charming. The town itself was full of textures, unexpected turns, nooks and crannies, interesting shops and…. cappuccino! I wandered around, photographing my first impressions and generally making friends with Grasse. I didn’t head back for hours – at which point the town no longer felt perched on a cliff on some distant planet, it felt a bit like home.

I made this short video of my first visit into town… and these images whilst strolling about, gathering first impressions. 😀

The Images

This is my favorite stretch of the aforementioned 300 steps!

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 2000, f/10, 1/210 sec

Stairway

The colors and textures of Grasse. I arrived on a Sunday, so the place was practically deserted…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/280 sec

TheStreetsOfGrasse copy

Without humans, a place like this seems surreal! So I thought I’d activate a filter that gave it that “out of a dream” quality, which was how I actually felt as I stood there that day.

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 640, f/6.4, 1/200 sec

Shopping

I couldn’t stop  following the yellow brick roads (or so I imagined them to be!) of Grasse to see what was just around the corner…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/120 sec

GrasseArchway_FromJPG

Fragrance shops… as colorful as they are delicious smelling! Only a couple were open, like this delicious looking and smelling one…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
Advanced filter: Miniature
ISO 800, f/6.4, 1/30 sec

TheColors

There’s something about the colors and textures everywhere that make me want to lick my monitor! (did I just say that out loud? Heh!)

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
Advanced Filter: Miniature
ISO 320, f/6.4, 1/60 sec

ThatLight

I trotted up and down these stairs countless times during my time in and near Grasse… and every time, admired the patterns it contained…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
Advanced Filter: Miniature
ISO 800, f/7.1, 1/480 sec

ThatStairway

Can you smell the lavender? Inhale deeply…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 320, f/3.2, 1/110 sec
Film simulation: Velvia

_DSF6124

The Mayor of Grasse, taking a little break under a chair, as mayors do…

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
ISO 250, f/5.6, 1/75 sec
Film Simulation: Velvia

_DSF6354

…because disparate colors and patterns are fun together. Besides, flowers and doors belong together!

Specs:
Fujifilm X Pro2, XF 16-55mm lens
Advanced Filter: Miniature
ISO 320, f/4.5, 1/160 sec

_DSF6452

Click here to stroll through all of my Postcards From France 

Click here to watch all the videos from France so far!

 

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