Grasse, the Perfume City of France

Grasse, the Perfume City of France

 

The Cote d’Azur is a belverde dream: fields of lavender, rose, jasmine, mimosa and other flowers fill the hills surrounding Grasse. They provide the raw materials used by the world’s top perfumers to create their olfactory masterpieces. The region’s unique microclimate and fertile soil encourage flower farming, and Provence is now the largest producer of scents in the world.

It’s not hard to see why Grasse is dubbed the ‘perfume city of France’. Perfumes have been made here since the 16th century, when local tanners used scents to mask the smell of their leather goods. As taxes on leather increased, tanners switched to perfumes and the industry grew from there. Today, Grasse’s perfume houses still dominate the world market.

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Visitors can learn about the art of making perfume in small and large perfumeries. Perfumers, or “noses,” use their expert knowledge to select the right ingredients and combine them in just the right way to make a beautiful scent. Often, the perfumers will be happy to answer questions and even allow you to sample different scents to see which ones speak to you.

For the full experience, visit during lavender season from July to August. The scented fields are an unforgettable sight and you can take guided walks around the Fragonard and Molinard factories or a perfume creation workshop. The latter includes a Champagne welcome, and you’ll leave with your own 90ml bottle of personalized perfume. Other workshops include a perfume discovery and an introduction to the science behind creating a scent.

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