Perfume from southern France
The five famous perfume houses in France
France the country of perfume.
With Paris as a city where the most prestigious perfume makers are established and Grasse, the flower capital and perfume specialists on the Cote d'Azur, France is a true paradise for fragrance and perfume lovers.
Ever since the ancient times, perfumes are made in Mediterranean countries. The use of an odor was even elected in the XVIIIth century over a wash with soap!
Grasse, the cradle of the perfume.
In addition to the German Cologne, where the first scented water was developed, everything happened on the Cote d'Azur in Grasse.
A technique was developed to extract the pure perfume with steam or alcohol.
Due to the sunny climate, scented flowers bloom in the region such as roses, lavender and jasmine and many other flower types.
How is perfume made?
Today, the production process is being evaluated and the millions of flowers required for perfume are also imported from other countries. But in Grasse and Paris you still find the best 'noses' of the industry. They work with subtle melange and costume extracts to create perfume. In fact, the perfumes are divided into 7 fragrance families (the famous Chanel N ° 5 belongs, for example, to the Hespéridées).
In addition to flowers, fruit (like orange, vanilla), resin (like myrrh and incense), but also mousse, herbs and carrots (such as iron or vetiver root) or spices (as cinnamon) and wood bark are used. And let's not forget special ingredients like beeswax or musk!
Smells like incentive.
Many perfume homes can be visited by groups. Some organize fun games where participants learn to use their senses or let participants create their own perfume. Also in Paris and Grasse several origenal tours around the theme of perfume have been compiled:
Visit to the distilleries of Grasse Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard are "factories" where you can visit the high tech workshop and a museum with the old production techniques. Locally you will find companies that specialize in the processing of aromatic plants.
1. A visit to Fragonard in Grasse
Fragonard was the name of a great painter used as a hommage for the perfume house, founded in 1782. There are workshops in Grasse, but also two museums in Paris: in the rue Scribe (at the Opéra Garnier) and on the boulevard Des Capucines.
The perfume factory of perfume manufacturer Fragonard is located in the center of Grasse. There is an entrance to the free accessible perfume museum in the village street and there is an entrance on the road to Cannes. By the road there is a parking lot that stops many buses with tourists every day.
You can explore the museum yourself, but you can also choose a tour. If you take the tour you will also be in the production area of the perfume factory. Here you can see, smell and hear the whole process of making perfume.
Address: Fragonard: Bd Fragonard.
2. A visit to perfume manufacturer Molinard
Molinard is a Provençal perfume maker since 1849, where you can take a look behind the scenes in Grasse. They offer different animation for groups: perfume making, odor games, with 'l'odorama', etc.
With their 'Atelier Gourmand' they add a flavor to the taste of coffee, tea and chocolate.
Perfume house Molinard is not accessible free of charge but you can take a lesson in making perfume. The lesson is given by a true nose. During the lesson you will create a perfume with a choice of about 80 ingredients.
Molinard's shop offers a wide range of flavors and soaps. There are also products that you can not find easy or not find elsewhere at all.
Address: Molinard: Bd Victor Hugo 60.
3. A visit to the Calimard perfume house
Galimard perfume is also a figurehead in Grasse. Not to be confused with the famous publisher Gallimard. Here you can also visit the workshop and the shop.
Parfum house Galimard is located outside the center of Grasse but is easily reached by car. Also at Galimard you can get a tour and follow a course of perfume.
Address: Galimard: Route Cannes 73.
4. Le Domaine de Manon
is a family owned and operated Grasse perfumery that grows flowers itself! It grows the Centifolia Rose and the Jasmine Grandiflora, two popular flowers used in perfumes. These flowers are picked during the height of the bloom and are sent to be used in Dior fragrances, one of the most popular global fragrance companies. Don’t miss your chance to see the harvesting of these beautiful flowers on your French Riviera trip! The roses bloom from early May to early June and the jasmines are in bloom from August to mid-October. Tours are only available on Tuesday mornings during the bloom of the flowers. While in Grasse, don’t miss the Jasmine Festival, being held from July 31 through August 2 of this year. A parade will be held in which thousands of these beautiful flowers will be thrown to onlookers and there will be an abundance of music and food for all.
For a different spin on Grasse’s perfume production, a trip to this lovely flower farm is a great option. Centifolia rose and jasmine have been cultivated here for three generations, and the farm now supplies Dior exclusively. Tours only take place during flowering, on Tuesday at 9am from early May to early June for roses, and on Tuesday at 9am from August to mid-October for jasmine; ring ahead to double-check, since exact times vary from year to year.
The farm is 7 km southeast of the centre of Grasse, in the small village of Plascassier (officially part of Grasse). Head in the direction of Valbonne along the D4 as you leave Grasse, and then follow signs for ‘Vieux Village’ when you get to Plascassier. The domaine will be on your left.
Address: chemin du Servan 36.
5. L’Occitane en Provence factory
Located in Manosque, France is the L’Occitane en Provence factory. This world renowned perfumery has been making natural fragrances and oils since 1976. Some of its best-selling fragrances include Citrus Verbena Summer and Verbena Eau de Toilette. The factory offers free one-hour tours, which reveal the inner workings of their operations, including the integrity of their pure ingredients. Even though it has stores worldwide, you can’t pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity to view how the stunning aromas are created
Address: Z.I St Maurice, 04100 Manosque, France
6. The small perfume shops in the center of Grasse
In addition to the large perfume houses, you can find a few small businesses in the small shopping streets of Grasse. The owner of the store / studio is then the nose that made up the perfume.
In the Rue de l'Oratoire 12 you will find the perfume shop of Didier Gaglewski. It's nice to talk to a real nose about perfume and Didier Gaglewski speaks good English and likes to talk about his work.