We all have our favourite scents, whether you’re like #TeamCoco and love Chanel, Armani or any one of the hundreds and thousands out there. However, what we might not know is how these are created, or the thought process behind the scent. The small town of Grasse in the South of France, set back from the glamorous port of Cannes and its luxury yachts, has just the answer and easily justifies the tag of perfume capital of the world. For perfume lovers, any trip to the region should include a jaunt to the town.
A world away from the fashion capitals of the world, this quiet, beautiful town with a view, has the ideal conditions for making perfume and its Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard perfumeries are the creators of some of the world’s most exclusive scents. The mixture of warm weather, bountiful sunshine and water from the winter months ensures Grasse is the ideal location for flowers to grow, as well as the ideal location for a relaxing villa holiday. There is even a Jasmine festival in early August every year, where the town celebrates what nature has given it and we swear you can even feel the scent of perfume as you walk around the old town.
Grasse has been creating perfume since the 18th Century, and the industry continues to be of major importance to the town today, employing over 10,000 residents. This typical Provençal town is responsible for more than 60% of all aromas, for both perfume and flavourings in France and around eight percent of all aromas worldwide. It is safe to say then, that a visit to the town opens up a world of scents and flavourings. From the International Perfume Museum, to the numerous perfumeries who open their old factories, much of the town’s tourism relies on its perfume industry.
Famously, the perfume industry is very guarded and recipes and formulas are not to be passed on by the makers. However, it is no secret that roses grown around the Grasse area go into every bottle of Chanel No. 5 Parfum and also in every bottle of Beautiful by Estée Lauder. The perfume makers of Grasse have influenced so many brands over the years, that a trip to any of the factories is sure to bring memories of some well-known perfume you used to wear! There are shops dotted around the town – and the entire region – selling high quality scents for very reasonable prices. Production is not limited to perfume, with a number of body washes, shampoos and soaps available in local flavours.
Galimard offers lessons in the extremely difficult world of perfume making. Armed with over 100 bottles of varying fragrances and an expert in the industry, the company offers advice on how to make your own scent. From the all-important base notes to middle tones and finally the sweet scents which make the first impression when using the perfume. With expert help you can create your own 100ml bottle of perfume at the school and – depending on how it goes – you can have the novelty of wearing your own souvenir when you are back at home. You never know, you may have been in the wrong career all this time!