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The magical Mimosa festivals of the south of France

Mimosa trees in bloom covering the hills around Grasse, Provence

Mimosa is a vibrant symbol of winter in the south of France and a sure sign that spring is on its way.

Bunches of mimosa on display at a market stall in Cannes, FranceThe bright yellow flower of this scented plant grows prolifically in southern France in the Var region where the Cote d’Azur and Provence meet. The route du Mimosa is 130km long and runs from Bormes les mimosa to the perfume capital Grasse and you’ll see it at its best from January to March.

British visitors introduced Mimosa to the French Riviera in the late 19th century. The area was popular with those craving the sunshine of the Med and Victorians flocked to this area including Queen Victoria who spent several months at a time here. The plant loved the climate and the soil and mimosa growers proliferated. Used in the perfume industry (Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Guerlain are all fans) for its scent and in bouquets for its exquisite beauty and gorgeous colour.

Its other main use is in the fabulous Mimosa festivals that take place in the Riviera, heralding the arrival of spring. And, you’ll also find it in syrups and some locally produced specialities.

The Route du Mimosa – the best towns to visit

Bormes-les-Mimosa

One of the prettiest floral villages in France. This ancient town is home to 90 different species of mimosa and celebrates with an annual festival.

Mandelieu La Napoule

The principal area of mimosa production on the Riviera, famous for its annual mimosa festival. La Tarte Mimosée was created by François Raimbault, pastry chef at the Oasis de Mandelieu restaurant.

Grasse

Huge bunches of cut mimosa flowers in a shop near Grasse, Provence

Internationally famous for its place in the world’s perfume industry. The town boasts gorgeous architecture including a cathedral with artwork by leading painters including Rubens. The Perfume Museum reveals the part mimosa has played in the success of Grasse’s perfume industry.

Rayol Canadel

Take the staircase from the centre of the village down to the sea and enjoy the spectacular views over the mimosa forests.

Sainte-Maxime

Beautiful botanical gardens, elegant seaside resort and a laid back vibe make this town well worth a visit.  Local chocolatier Jean-Louis Vaissaud has created mimosa flavour chocolates to honour the famous flower.

Saint-Raphael

The reddish coloured volcanic rock contrasts stunningly with the yellow mimosa, a sight you’ll cherish. Famous chocolate maker of the area, Didier Carrie, has created a unique recipe called “Le Mimosa d’Agay”, a white truffle chocolate, flavoured with plant liquors and lemons, covered with mimosa powder. Yum.

Tanneron

Mimosa flowers for sale, measured in weight on an old fashioned weighing machine, Provence

Gardeners will love this place which has the largest concentration of mimosa in the whole of France, forests of mimosa glow in winter.

Pégomas

Mimosa, olive trees and vines grow in abundance here. While you’re here, try La mimosette, a brioche specialty from Pégomas, decorated with mimosa seeds and stuffed with a cream that remains the secret of the baker. It is only prepared during the mimosa festival.

www.visitvar.fr
www.cotedazurtourism