Everything you need to know about mimosa in the South

Set off on a discovery of the riches of mimosa, the symbol of a wintery but light-filled Côte d’Azur. A sunny yellow against the backdrop of a deep blue sky, its delightful fragrance perfumes the coast and its forests, and reveal a totally unexpected heritage…

the origins of Mimosa in the South

Imported from Australia by the English to decorate their gardens, the tree with its little yellow pompoms and its delicate, flowery fragrance has been perfuming the roads of Provence since the late 18th century. Mimosa is from the acacia family and has adopted Provence. The Mediterranean climate has helped it to become a real crop in the region and especially on the Var Côte d’Azur where mimosa has put down its roots. It has become the emblem of the medieval village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, and also lights up the Corniche des Maures, the Massif du Tanneron and the Estérel. Some of its species have settled in so well that they colour gardens and hills with their sparking yellow, as it has become wild once again.

Cultivation & blooming of mimosa

Even though it is so precious, the local yellow gold is not that rare. There are more than 1200 varieties of mimosa in the world. With its flowering period from December to July, you can enjoy it in spring, summer and winter. In all, 18 million mimosa stems are produced every year in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes. Easily recognizable, the yellow clusters are hard to miss. According to the varieties, the leaves can be silvery or even purple. And on some clusters, you can even see leaves in the shape of pine needles. To thrive fully in acid soil, the temperature must not be colder than 10°C below.

4 great moments for celebrating mimosa

Head for the great Fête du Mimosa in Tanneron, held every year at the end of January. The village abuzz holds masses in Provencal, folk dances, Provencal and crafts markets, flower parades, visits of mimosa farms and even a carnival for kids. In Mandelieu la Napoule, the Fête du Mimosa continues into February with a flower parade, a night parade and even fireworks. At the same time, the Fête du Mimosa in Sainte-Maxime has lovely street shows on the theme of “Festivals from all over the world”. And lastly, the Fête du mimosa which is also held in February in Bormes-les-Mimosas is still the most emblematic. People come from far and wide to admire one of the most famous flower parades and wander around the medieval village with its view over the Mediterranean.

3 musts for visits where mimosa is the star

Now, take a coach from Mandelieu-la-Napoule to discover the life cycle of mimosa, from flower to perfume. In February, the Excursion Du mimosa au parfum takes you into the biggest mimosa forest in Europe with a stop at a perfumery in Grasse. In  January at the Domaine du Rayol, there’s a world mimosa tour with a gardener in store for you. A beautiful event with an evocative name:  l’Odyssée des Mimosas. And on the Côte d’Azur, there are hikes, guided walks or photography walks in the Massif de l’Estérel during the “À la découverte du Mimosa de la Côte d’Azur” event which takes place from January to March.

The not-to-be-missed Route du Mimosa for a sweet-smelling escapade

Drive along with its delicate floral fragrance around you… On the Route du Mimosa our senses are awakened all along the 130 km. Both touristic and panoramic, this itinerary is made up of 8 town stages between the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes and illustrates the gentle Provencal lifestyle. On the way, you all make your own programme, a stop in a garden or a park, a meeting with a producer or a gourmet break, a walk among the flowers or a show with a parade, there’s something for all tastes in Provence. The adventure begins in Bormes-les-Mimosas, and goes to Grasse, after having gone through the Jardin Botanique des Myrtes in Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Raphaël, Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Tanneron and Pégomas. This winter road trip on the “Route d’Or” that winds through the biggest mimosa forest in Europe, the Massifs des Maures and the Estérel, la Corniche d’Or, offers the most breathtaking landscapes. The contrast between the yellow mimosa and the blue sea will be imprinted on your memory.

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Une publication partagée par Mimocello (@mimocello)

Mimosa in all shapes and sizes

With over 200 tonnes of floral gold extracted and marketed all over the world, Provence can count on mimosa as its blooming economy. Grasse is a must as a reference in perfume making. With its downy, powdery, floral and warm notes, the perfume with its subtle notes of mimosa is a great favourite. In Tanneron, the Vial family, made up of both mimosa-growers and beekeepers, uses it for something quite different. They have a mimosa hothouse which can be visited from December to March, and a honey house for some great tastings. In Fréjus, Glacier Ness has a speciality from January to March: mimosa sorbet. An original little indulgence and very moreish. In Théoule-sur-Mer, with his brand Mimocello, Laurent Raynaud makes artisanal cordials and liqueurs with mimosa, while others like Didier Carrié, a chocolate-maker in Saint-Raphaël , use the flowers in recipes and to-die-for desserts.