Although the very first evidence of perfume was found in Cyprus, it is the French that is famous for it. The world “capital of perfume” (la capitale mondiale des parfums) is Grasse in France. Grasse’s perfume industry has been thriving since the eighteenth century.
Grasse, a town on the French Riviera, is situated between the Mediterranean and the beautiful Alps which makes it the perfect place to grow flowers.
During May the roses come into bloom. Early in the morning, you will see people picking roses for the factories. Le Domaine de Manon grows roses and jasmine of which the petals are used exclusively for Dior perfumes. This is an amazing experience: to attend a tour during May as they pick the roses early in the morning. Again, from August to October you will smell Jasmin, which is then harvested from early dawn.
The old town of Grasse is beautiful. Narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants and lots to explore. For a visit to this town, you will need good walking shoes as the town is situated up against a hill. Having said this, you will also have spectacular views all the way to the Mediterranean.
Fragonard, Galimard, and Molinard all have “factories” open to the public. However, there are lots of factories in the area. Obviously all over town, and at the factories, you will find fabulous shops selling their fantastic perfume.
The perfume factories all offer tours and it is available in different languages.
Another wonderful thing to do is to take a sensory walk in the Mouans-Sartoux Gardens of the International Perfume Museum. Thereafter you can tour the Grasse museum as well.
Absolutely! It’s a hidden gem in France, well worth your time.
In France, Maison Guerlain is one of the world’s most famous perfumeries. Guerlain is the emblem of luxury. In 1914, the House of Guerlain arrived at 68, Champs-Elysées. Now if ever you would love to visit a shop for the very rich and famous, this is it. Do visit their website – they do have an online shop as well.
Legend has it that during the 18th-century in Paris there was actually a fear of water, which was believed to carry disease. Therefore people did not smell too good. For this reason, they needed to “cover up the smell”…