From January to March, the valleys, hills and gardens of the French Riviera are covered in tiny bright yellow buds, with a heady perfume and soft petals. The mimosa scent is extracted from these little flowers to make a syrup, sweets, cakes and perfume…
The Mimosa Route
Between January and March, this route provides 130km of magnificent countryside where the blue sea and sky mixes with the green and yellow of the mimosa-covered hills. From Bormes-les-Mimosas to Grasse, eight villages offer a journey through the land of these little yellow flowers: artisan chocolate-makers and bakers, ‘corsos’ and other traditional festivals, greenhouses, garden centres, perfumers…
Every year at the end of January in the old village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, ‘Mimosalia’ is the first botanical event of the year. An event for plant-lovers, it brings together the biggest garden centre owners and collectors in France. There are over 80 exhibitors of rare and unusual varieties, decoration and garden furniture, as well as plant-related activities, such as workshops for all ages, visit to the Town gardens and exhibitions.
See the Mimosa Route
The ‘corsos fleuris’
Descended from the Carnival, the ‘corso fleuri’ is now a key part of Var festival tradition. However, it emerged relatively recently – at the end of the 19th century. On the Saturday, the floats are decorated with thousands of flowers, and on the Sunday, they are paraded through the streets of the village.
Fanfares, folk groups and people in costume accompany the parade. In Bormes, Sainte-Maxime and Saint-Raphaël, mimosa blossoms decorate the parade, elsewhere, multi-coloured carnations or other flowers decorate the floats. The festival always finishes with a flower battle!
The main ‘corsos’ take place in Bormes-les-mimosas, Carqueiranne, Cavalaire-sur-Mer, Cogolin, Draguignan, Le Lavandou, Ollioules, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, Saint-Raphaël and Sainte-Maxime.
This crystalline rock mountain forms a link between the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, and is almost entirely covered in mimosa and eucalyptus forest.
From January to March, it is entirely cloaked in a bright yellow coat. In France, the Tanneron Massif is the biggest area of mimosa, with both cultivated and wild areas covering 200 hectares! A real riot of emerald green, azure blue and gold. The most striking is certainly the explosion of smell that cannot be found anywhere else.
Part of the acacia family, mimosa was originally found in tropical areas, and was imported to the French Riviera by the English during the 19th century to decorate their gardens. Some species adapted so well that they thrived in the wild.
The horticulturists, or ‘mimosistes’, grow mimosa in greenhouses. In these chambers, the warm atmosphere and 90% humidity and the mimosa blossoms are pumped with nutrients. As a result, the mimosa plants flower in 48 hours! These greenhouses are concentrated in the Tanneron Massif. Some of them are open to the public, such as the one owned by the VIAL family in Tanneron, so you can discover the secrets of their knowledge.
The national collection
The CAVATORE family and their plant nursery are nationally recognised specialists in mimosa production. 25 years of passion, experience and research means that the CAVATORE family now own the only collection in France awarded by the ‘Conservatoire des Collections Végétales Spécialisées’, with 180 species and varieties of mimosa. Exported throughout Europe, the mimosa is produced without a greenhouse, in an natural and eco-friendly way, in unheated greenhouses.