Famous for being the world capital of perfume, Grasse is the destination of the Riviera. Surrounded by fields of flowers and aromatic plants, it houses about thirty perfume factories and historic houses of the biggest names in perfumery.
City of tanners in the Middle Ages, Grasse enters the history of perfumery in the 17th century, when the Galimard tanner creates scented leather gloves that offer Catherine de Medici. The trend is developing in high society. The perfume industry is progressively replacing the leather in Grasse.
In Grasse are also produced the raw materials needed to manufacture perfumes, cosmetics and food aromas are essential oils, absolute oils or resinoids and distillations. It also manufactures concentrates called "juice", which are then mixed with 80% alcohol for perfume. The food flavorings industry developed in Grasse in the 70s.
Perfume capital of design to manufacturing to the production of its raw materials, Grasse account on its territory many flower crops. The most famous are jasmine, orange flower, may rose, violet, Madonna lily, geranium Rosat, tuberose or iris pallida. Some large houses have their own plantations, like Chanel Grasse cultivating his roses and jasmine.
The gardens of the international perfume museum exhibit 2 hectares aromatic plants and flowers traditionally grown for perfumery, through landscaped areas and field crops. We discover the plants according to their olfactory note: woody, fruity, spicy, musky or floral. The working culture, the collection and sale is also explained over the course.
Inside, the museum established in 1989 is dedicated to the prestigious activity of perfumery. Its collections are a valuable record of the history of the great perfume houses of Grasse. We also learn about the history of perfume in general, since ancient times and in different civilizations. The art of the bottles is emphasized through an incredible collection of precious objects.
Large Grasse perfume houses also open their doors to the public. Among the oldest include Fragonard house and the house Molinard. In the heart of town, the house takes its name from Fragonard Grasse painter whose city is visitable museum in Grasse. Perfumery, founded in 1926, includes a free museum dedicated to the history of perfumery, which exhibits a collection of rare and precious objects: bottles worked, stills and old boxes among other curiosities.
Older perfumer in Grasse, Molinard is also one of the oldest houses in the world. It is present in Grasse since 1849. In the heart of town, the walled Molinard houses a historic factory in operation since 1900, creating the laboratory, homemade soap, a distilloir built by Gustave Eiffel and a museum. The museum visit is guided: we discover some secrets of making perfume big names, and a collection of bottles signed by leading glassmakers. The house offers various workshops around the fragrance and creating customized scents.
The Galimard home after Glover behind the conversion of Grasse in the economy, also offers tours of its factory and an associated museum. The laboratories and packaging rooms are part of the visit. They are an opportunity to discuss the history of perfume in Grasse, extraction processes scents and different olfactory families. The sale salon then offers the creations of the house at factory prices.
Credit photo : Tim Reckmann