A Trip to the International Capital of Perfume
The town of Grasse is considered by many to be the international capital of perfume. It is a small town nestled in the Southeast of France, about a 40 minute drive from the Mediterranean resort city of Nice.
Being only two-and-a-half hours from my childhood home in Provence, I had to take the trip this summer to visit this legendary place that I always wanted to see (and smell).
(Yes! I had never been to Grasse! Crazy, I know 😅).
I’ve read so much about Grasse, trying to take in its long and storied history with perfume by absorbing the printed word. The name of this place alone has been in my dreams for a very long time 😍.
But of course, reading about a place is not the same thing as being there. So, finally, off I went!
The town is very small, with more of a village than a city feel. It takes only a short time to visit. But every moment is packed with charm.
Just about every roadside boutique is a little parfumeries, usually owned by the artist himself. I was very lucky to meet one of these artists and chat one-on-one about his craft – why he chose to use that particular ingredient or the story behind his latest release.
It was an immense privilege to speak with a representative of a diminishing breed of true artists whose old-world craftsmanship is, unfortunately, being lost more and more each year.
There are not many true perfumers left as the industry continues to be dominated by the big cosmetic conglomerates.
After our conversation, I went for a tour of the famous Fragonard factory, which is still owned by the family who created it way back in 1926!
They open their doors and offer tours (in english too) of the real factory where they continue to distill their own essential oils, blend their creations, and bottle them.
You can even watch the factory personnel at work.
They also offer ateliers where visitors can learn and make their own fragrant compositions.
A second Fragonard location a few miles away has a museum that shows older processes of distillation and the first bottles and packaging.
Perfumes used to be very luxurious and not everybody had access to them. This lies at the root of why they feel so precious.
Learn more about Fragonnard.
As a lover of the art of fragrance and beautiful scents, my trip to Grasse was a dream come true.
I can’t believe I never made it sooner!
If you’re ever in Provence and want to see firsthand the incredible artistry that forms the beating heart of the classic fragrance industry, Grasse is well worth the visit!
Pictures by Fragonnard.com