GrasseJuly 11, 2017 in France
Today was all about the nose. We headed off to Grasse which was only a few kms away from last night's stay. Grasse is the centre of the world's perfume industry and so we dedicated today to smelling lovely fragrances and the plants that produce them.
Les Gardins du Musée International de La Parfumerie was a garden of plants and flowers set up to show how many different plants, herbs and flowers are used in the manufacture of perfume. Here we were encouraged to touch, smell and rub leaves of plants to enjoy the scent. Unfortunately a lot of the plants and shrubs were passed their best but we got the general idea and there was a small group of school children having a sensory lesson under the shade of a large tree.
In the Middle Ages tanners settled in Grasse due to its abundance of water for cleaning their hides. With the advent of perfumed gloves in the 1500's the art of perfumery began. Glove makers split from the tanners and set up lucrative perfumeries. New irrigation techniques allowed flower growing to boom, sealing Grasse's reputation as the world capital of fragrance. Today Grasse is surrounded by Jasmine, roses, mimosa, orange blossom and violet fields.
From the gardens we headed to a perfumerie to see how the perfumes were made. Leaving the gardens with Mandy in the lead we noticed their vehicle spat out a somewhat mangled road works sign! No damage done to the vehicle though and I'm sure they are still making signs. Due to the time of day (lunchtime) only one of the three houses offering tours was open so we headed there to the Frogonard family business. It was a nightmare getting there and then parking but we were finally able to relax in the air conditioning inside.
The head 'chemist' is known as the Nose and it takes 10 years to aquire the necessary qualifications. He/she sits at an 'organ' which is a stand of about 250 essence bottles and creates fragrances. Although the tour was available over lunchtime the staff were not so we didn't see them working but we did see soap being made. As usual in these attractions it was 'exit through the gift shop' where we were encouraged to try various fragrances and guess what flowers, woods and spices were in them. It was all very lovely and the smells stayed with me for hours.
We opted for another campground tonight as they are at least welcoming to motorhomes however the high traffic volume and small confined entrance to this camp made us wonder so we had to turn at the next roundabout and head back for another go at getting in. We finally made it across the traffic and are pleased to report they do take motorhomes and it is a lovely camp just 500metres from the beach which we have already had a swim in.Read more