As you know, France is famous for its perfumes. Last summer, while on family vacation in the South of France, we visited Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, which is perched on the hills of Provence about 20 km from Cannes and makes a lovely day trip, away from the crowded beaches.
Grasse is also famous after the movie “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” based on the novel of Patrick Suskind, with Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman.
There are a few perfume factories you can visit in Grasse, but my favorite one is the Fragonard perfume factory, located in the Old town of Grasse. Built in 1782, it is the oldest factory in town and still craft perfumes and soaps everyday. The microclimate in Grasse is ideal for growing fresh herbs, fruits and flowers which make Fragonard’s perfumes so pure.
Visiting the factory is a true sensory experience. If you’re obsessed by smell like I am, you can’t help but nose sniffling the entire time of the tour, with each fragrance transporting through time and space and bringing back memories to people and places we’ve known and loved. Like many museums in France, the guided tour of the laboratories and workshop is free. It was quite fascinating to learn that it takes up to seven years of study to become a professional perfumer, also referred as a Nose.
The best part after the guided tour is the gift shop of course! From making your own perfume to shopping natural soaps, table linens and candles, these make great gifts and amazing souvenirs.
We ended our day trip by strolling through Old Grasse and shopping the small boutiques owned by local artisans. I literally stocked up on lavender sachet bags, more soaps and sea salts!
When in Grasse, you can also visit the Fragonard Museum named after Jean-Honoré Fragonard, famous for his 18th-century Rococo oil painting “The Swing”.
This was such a memorable trip! Every time I wear one of the Fragonard scents, I am transported right back to our magical experience in charming Provence.