Every town has its unique stories and heritage. Pretty little Grasse tells a story of scents and flowers. Nestled in the North of Cannes, Grasse the unofficial perfume capital of the world houses several perfumeries that have existed for centuries. When visiting Grasse you are challenged to use your olfactory sense and literally immerse yourself in a world of fragrances and flowers.
In Grasse Everything Smells Absolutely Celestial!
The first striking thing about Grasse are its beautiful medieval streets, and just before you are done taking it all in, its scents hits you and before the day ends, you are guaranteed your own signature bottle of perfume, how cool is that?
Until the 18th century Grasse was known as a hub for leather production, until Jean De Galimard decided to use the flowers that grow around Grasse to make scents that would effectively mask the pungent odor of the leather. That became the birth of a new era of trade for Grasse. Thousands of tourist troop to Grasse annually to learn about the process of making a perfume. And at the center of it all are three gems, these to me are the lords of scents, I am talking about Fragonard, Molinard, and Galimard.
The experience in these 3 perfumeries are pretty much the same, they all offer amazing scents, workshop sessions and the opportunity to create your own fragrance.
However, my personal favorite is FRAGONARD, the Fragonard perfumery is one of the first perfumeries in Grasse. It was founded by Eugène Fuchs in 1926 and still survives till date. Fragonard makes my favorite scent in the world “Etoile”, and you get can a 600ml Eau de Toilette bottle for just 60 Euros. When visiting the House of Fragonard in Grasse, visitors are given an opportunity to loose themselves in a world of frangrance and leave with their own signature scents. The tour itself takes you through the botany and chemistry that goes into every single bottle of fragrance you see, and generally if you are a perfume lover, you will be enchanted.
A session in Fragonards Perfume Workshop cost around 58 Euros and lasts for an entire 30 mintues. At the end of each class you get to leave with your own personalized 100ml bottle of scent.
Maison Molinard was founded in 1849 in Grasse, it houses perfume history like no other place on earth, and its vintage collection is truly a sight to behold. Molinard organizes the best tours and classes, they are both educatives and entertaining. Molinard “Design Your Own Fragrance” is a one hour workshop, that gives you a 50ml bottle of your own personalized scent and a 10% discount at the shop for just 60 Euros per person.
In addition, Molinard organizes a private perfume creation class for people wanting something more intimate, this class is certainly more detailed and includes champagne J and a 75ml bottle of perfume. Molinard also has classes for kids ages 3-10. If you are interested in taking a class and immersing yourself in the art of perfume making then Molinard is the place to be.
Parfumerie Galimard is one of Frances oldest perfume factory, it has been in existence since 1747. Galimard uses plants grown in the french riveria to create bespoke scents that have stood the test of time, a tour of Galimard will enlighten you on the history of perfume making and the role that Grasse has played in establishing the perfume making industry across the globe. I absolutely love how Galimard maintains traditon and truly emmerses its visitors in history.
Galimard makes the best gift sets and soaps , plus they have a shop in Eze Village that mesmerizes me everytime I see it. The trick to enjoying the charm of Garimald is to make it your last stop after visiting the other two, something about the experience gives your tour a tone of finality, kind of like you have seen the kids and now you met the Dad.
GETTING TO GRASSE
Grasse is located in the province called Cote D’Azur on the French Riviera. The closest international airport to it is The Nice Airport. Grasse is very accessible from Nice, Cannes and Juan Le Pin.
There are hourly trains from Cannes for around 4 Euros per person and from Nice for around 10 Euros per person. Regular buses from Nice, Juan Le Pin and Cannes also shuttle to Grasse for just 1, 50 Euros.
So, if you love to smell nice and explore the world like me, then head on to Grasse and discover the sophisticated world of perfumes in the hidden gems of Grasse.
Don’t forget to share your pictures and experience with us.
Sarah Whuuk Yusuf.