Whilst we may all have our favourite, be it Chanel, Armani or any one of the hundreds and thousands out there, our choice of perfume is personal. However, we can’t help but constantly be on the lookout for something new, just look at the duty free section in any airport! The small town of Grasse, set back from the glamorous ports of Cannes and Antibes and their superyachts, has just the answer for your next scent, make it yourself! The town easily justifies its tag as the perfume capital of the world and any stay in one of our south France villas should include a jaunt to the town.
This bustling, beautiful town with a view, is the ideal location for making perfume. Its most famous perfumeries Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard are behind some of the world’s most popular scents. The key mix of warm weather, plentiful sunshine and sufficient water from the winter months ensures Grasse is the ideal location for flowers to grow, as well as the perfect spot for a relaxing villa holiday.
Grasse has been a key part of the perfume industry since the 18th Century, and its continued significance cannot be downplayed – the industry still employs over 10,000 residents. The figures are impressive, 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. 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. As if to further highlight the importance of perfume to the town, there is a Jasmine festival in early August every year, where the locals celebrate the flowers which have led to their importance within the perfume industry.
Whilst the famous perfume makers of Grasse are often silent about who they work with as recipes and formulas are not to be passed on, 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.
Around the town, there are shops selling high quality scents for very reasonable prices. It is here that you are likely to run into a few scents you have worn over the years! Perfume is of course the biggest and most lucrative seller for the town, yet production also includes a number of body washes, shampoos and soaps available in local flavours, the perfect gift for someone back home.
Galimard offers lessons in the extremely difficult world of perfume making. With a start point of over 100 bottles of different fragrances and an industry expert by your side to guide you, you can begin 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 you first douse yourself with the perfume. With expert help you can create your own 100ml bottle of perfume at the school and – depending on what type of scent you create – you can have the novelty of wearing your own souvenir when you are back at home. This is the perfect idea for both children and adults and is the ideal way to spend some time out of the sun!