The mimosa is a beautiful flowering bush that is often found in gardens, green-spaces, and forests all over the south of France. There are over 1200 varieties world-wide, the shrub is native to Australia, Central and South America and parts of Asia, not France. It is believed that the mimosa plant travelled to Europe on one of Captain Cook’s voyages. This flowering beauty was introduced to southern France around 1850, by wealthy English, who planted them to in order to brighten-up their gardens during the winter months on the Cote D’Azur. Although, there are several mimosa varieties in the region they all typically flower between mid-January and mid-March. The region celebrates this early explosion of colour with a number of events, typically centred around the villages that form La Route du Mimosa.
The trail can start from villages that includes Hyères, Bormes-les-Mimosas, le Rayol-Canadel, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Raphaël, Tanneron, Grasse, Pégomas, and Mandelieu-la Napoule and it’s long around 130 kilometer: Hyères, the city of palm trees, where gardens are related with arts, Bormes-les Mimosas, where the mimosas are strongly present and painters still arriving to paint the view of its hills. At the bottom of the Bormes village, Gérard Cavatore’s nursery presents a unique collection in France of more than 160 varieties of mimosas. Along the way, the Mediterranean gardens of Domaine du Rayol is one of the most beautiful sites where exotic species are to be seen here alongside mimosas, pines and cork-oaks. Different varieties of Mediterranean plants express themselves but also it’s possible to find plants from around the world, and especially more than thirty varieties of mimosa and join a special themed tour dedicated to this plant. At Saint-Raphaël the slopes of the Massif de l’Estérel reach the sea and this is one of the most beautiful sites of Provence where wild mimosa grows. Another site for wild mimosa is close to Mandelieu-la-Napoule, the city of the traditional Mimosa Festival. The hills of Mandelieu, from the Tanneron Massif to La Croix des Gardes, are known as ‘Europe’s largest mimosa forest’. The Route du Mimosa finishes in Grasse, the centre of the French perfume industry and is known as the world’s perfume capital, where mimosa is used to create several fragrances.