Hello friends! Today we are continuing our voyage through the beautiful south of France. The first stop I’d like to take you to is Grasse, the world acclaimed capital of perfumes. Grasse is located in the Provence in the south of France. It is pitched on a hill facing the wide plain of the southern Provence and overlooking the Mediterranean coast and the coastal town of Cannes.
The center of Grasse is an old, medieval town with stone buildings and narrow streets that end up in little squares with water fountains and stairs. But the real fame comes from a century old tradition – Grasse is the epitome of the perfume industry. The area around Grasse is very known for its rose production, lavender fields, fragrant jasmine. Since the end of the 18th century the perfume industry has been prospering in this quaint little Mediterranean town and is very present nowadays, too. The big names of the French perfume industry have their own houses and production facilities in Grasse. Moreover, they also have museums, villas, boutiques and most of the factories offer free guided visits.
I took the opportunity to visit the museum and the factory of renown Fragonard Parfumeurs and got an interesting insight into the production of perfumes from the early beginning up to today. I also learned that every perfume consist of three odorant levels, the head, the heart and the base (la tête, le coeur, la base). And did you know that there are but 50 perfume experts worldwide (the so-called ‘noses’ or in French ‘les nez’)? They are able to distinguish more than 2000 scents with their noses. Consequently, they have to lead a very healthy and dedicated life – no alcohol, no smoking, no spicy food and more.
I was pretty lucky to be in town during the annual ‘Expo Rose’ festival. It is an international rose exhibition and the entire city is transformed into an fragrant rose capital. Rose petals lead the way through the old town, a big rose exposition showcases rare roses and a market with local produce bedazzle the senses – I had to give in and try a rose icecream, rose macarons and rose madeleines. It was incredibly delicious!
I need not mention that I left Grasse packed with perfumes for my family, friends and myself and keep reminiscing about this charming Provence town whenever I smell fresh roses, lavender, jasmine…
Happy Monday, my friends!